When Life Gives You Lemons (Updated)
So I’ve badly neglected my blog here, mostly because of work last weekend and Portal 2 this week. Fortunately I spent all of today catching up on everything, so without further words, let’s review Madoka and everything else!
So SHAFT finally dropped the final two episodes of Madoka and I haven’t read any other animu blogger’s reactions yet, but let me be among those to voice my disappointment for this series ending. Yep. You heard me say it. Disa-fucking-pointment.
See, Madoka is not your average magical girl series, and we liked that. We liked the fact that they were willing to kill off a cute character in the beginning, to introduce a jealous best-friend-type who ultimately kills herself in the end, the spunky villain-turned-hero sacrificing herself for others, and the cold-as-ice girl who became that way after watching her best friend die so many times that all she could do was keep trying over, and over, to make everything right. All along Madoka was strung along, not being able to do anything for anyone lest she be sucked into the chain of despair.
But in the end, she decides that she will take it upon herself to pull a move worthy of only one other anime character recently, Lelouch from Code Geass, and that is to absorb everything unto themselves, shoulder the burden, and sacrifice themselves for the sake of everyone else. Oh it worked, Madoka becoming some kinda God and eliminating witches worked, but really, it didn’t eliminate magical girls, maybe changed the scope of their mission, maybe altered the laws (which Kyubey mentions) but you don’t see Homu-Homu running out of her house with toast in her mouth.
I guess I am making a fuss out of nothing, but I expected something a little more.. SHAFTy than usual, either a BAD END, or a complete negation of all time lines, back to a point where Mami and Kyubey never come in contact with the girls, where they continue to live their lives oblivious of the fact it was ever going on. But I guess a world without Madoka does seem like a BAD END in a sense, so at least they didn’t give us something like a GOOD END where everything somehow works out.
Overall, it’s still an awesome series, and given the ending I am still cool with everything overall, but honestly what we got was not worth the delay, there was nothing special here to constitute it. Had the quake not happened, would the ending stay the same? I have a feeling they had something much darker in mind and scrapped it post-quake. Wonder if they’d share it with us in the DVD/BD release?
Title: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sub Group I Watched: Nutbladder, gg
Rating (1-10): 9
Favorite Character: Homura
Least Favorite Character: Sayaka
Favorite Magical Girl: Homura, best use of conventional weapons ever
Favorite Witch: Charlotte
Useless Auxiliary Characters: Green Mugi and Violin Fucker. All they did was contribute to Sayaka’s demise. What a bunch of selfish fucks.
You can’t go a single season without KugiRie and JC STAFF, and this season’s entry is Hidan no Aria which thankfully so far is doing an awesome job of being interesting to watch. Dubbed “Shakugan no Loli III” by gg, this series follows main character Kinji Tooyama, who appears to be a normal high school kid, except he goes to an elite school of essentially “soldiers for hire” in a world where students can train to be essentially mercs for hire working with an organization that accepts missions from civilians to perform tasks or catch criminals. Due to an unfortunate assassination attempt on him, he runs into Aria H. “Quadra Aria” Kanzaki, a small girl with a lot of firepower, two guns and two swords. Little does she know, our MC has a special ability that allows him to raise his skill tremendously and uses his own modified Beretta to take out his attackers. From then on she tries to tag along with him to persuade him to join her on missions.
It’s an interesting take on several series, it has a very Shana-style atmosphere to it, but it also reminds me of Gunslinger Girls and NOIR, though only because of girls and guns. Cliches aside, I do like how our MC isn’t wimpy or gives in to the bossy female MC, in fact, even in his “normal mode” he doesn’t always take her shit, leaving her speechless in many situations. Still has a holding underwear scene, but eh, you take your victories where you can.
TLDR Watch This: Loli with guns AND swords. No seriously, why would you not watch that? That’s bound to be gold somewhere!
TLDR Don’t Watch This: If you don’t know what “URUSAI” means, because gg thought it best not to translate. You know, cool kids and all.
Sub Group: gg
First Rating: 8
I’ve seen some interesting and weird stuff before, but Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Denotoko) is a fast-talking little gem that has warmed its way upwards on my weekly WatchRanking chart with its witty dialogue and interesting characters. Coming off of their success in Madoka, SHAFT does not pull punches here, and the series plays out a lot like previous works of theirs, including Bakemonogatari, and Arakawa Under the Bridge. Erio Touwa is a girl who has convinced herself she is an alien however she has amnesia from an accident and does not remember a chunk of her life, to the point where she drops out of school and spends each day at home wrapped in a mattress. Meanwhile Makoto Niwa, her cousin, stays with her and her mother (his aunt) Meme Touwa while his parents situate themselves to move. He finds his new life to be eccentric and annoying as Meme doesn’t seem to care what is happening to Erio, and his new classmates Maekawa and Ryuuko Mifune are also eccentric.
It’s style is very Bakemonogatari-like, right down to the characters and mannerisms. But I find it particularly interesting in the same way as Hanasaku Iroha this season, and this is a good thing. I probably also feel rather bad for Erio, especially after figuring out that her alien story is a product of an accident.
TLDR Watch This: Bakemonogatari without staplers, Arakawa without bridges. Also, animu MILF.
TLDR Don’t Watch This: If you’re the “Space Sphere” from Portal 2. Gotta go to space. Space. Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.
Sub Group: Mazui, Underwater-Commie
First Rating: 8
Sometimes I find Japan just likes to make series that if they were made in America, would end up being senseless like all of Disney’s live-action programming. Thankfully, anime does a better job of “Friends”-like series with Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, a charming little title about.. er.. a couple of kids moving back to a town they used to visit as kids, except now they’re living there. Kazuma and Ayumu Hoshino move into the inn Kazuma used to frequent as a child which is managed by Tsumugi Toudou’s family. Along the way, he meets Ui Nakatsugawa and Ibuki Hinata in the mountains, accidentally falling and kissing Ui. The next day he finds them both in his new class, and becomes friends with them and others from the area.
It’s a harem/comedy/romance series, and very cliched, but a pretty good title given Dogakobo’s limited selection. I’m not expecting much out of this series other than to be a pleasant watch from start to finish, so they can stick with whatever they are doing and it would be fine by me. They also have a shrine maiden named Madoka in this series, but don’t expect her to contract with any bastard cats or anything.
TLDR Watch This: Generic harem, cute girls eating cake and parfaits, little brother complexes
TLDR Don’t Watch This: Generic harem, cute boys drinking espresso, little sister complexes
Sub Group: Horrible
First Rating: 7
A Channel 3 starts to establish itself as the generic K-ON! only instead of musical instruments, it’d be like if all four girls picked on Azu-nyan for the entire two years, and Azu-nyan was a loli in oversized clothes. It’s a cute series, and I find some humor in watching it, but I wouldn’t place it on par with the kind of wacky shit that happens in Nichijou. Still, I think the weekly question you ask yourself before watching is “What will Run do this week?” and anticipate something ridiculous or stupid. This week does not disappoint. She doesn’t know how to use an iPod. Nagi was not amused.
GOSICK 14 continues into the story of Leviathan the Alchemist, though little progress is made as Victorique is forced into showing up in the classroom for once and finally meets Avril, who is none too pleased at her and her “farting newt” insult or the fact Kujo fancies Victorique over her. Still, Victorique demonstrates the trick behind making a white rose turn blue, apparently from a cottonball with blue dye on the stem, causing it to soak up the blue. I’d be interested in trying that to see if it works. Brian Roscoe also makes another appearance before Victorique and seems to know a thing or two about her. Where this leads? I’m sure Sherlock knows.
I won’t lie, I am on the fence about continuing SKET Dance, and I don’t have anything against Tatsunoko Productions, they helped produce some of the best mecha of all time, i.e Macross and Tekkaman, as well as their own legends like Speed Racer, but SKET Dance is like a very muddy play on several cliches at once, from the dense, retarded leader-type, to the macho, in-your-face tomboy girl fighter, to the silent, scheming nerd know-it-all, along with loads of one-shot side characters. That in itself would be fantastic to watch, but it relies on reaction shots to everything (and I mean everything) said or done in the series, with confusing plot lines and even more confusing understanding of the central plot, if there is one. This last episode, was probably the best one so far as it actually had a discernible beginning and end, and shed some light into who Hime Onizuka was before joining SKET-dan. I’m fair, gonna continue on, but don’t be surprised if I don’t take away from this what they intended me to.
Steins;Gate has gotten pretty interesting, and I continue to use The Journeyman Project in jokes to set myself up for the notion that this series is going to hit time travel in just the same way the game did, except if you took on the persona of someone outside of the TSA, lived in Japan, and had weird friends working with your weird self. Yes, this series combines a serious overtone of time travel, string theories, and bananas, with a weird Icchan-like guy, an eccentric girl, a typical 4chan user, a weird pig-tail girl, and a normal might-be-dead-in-an-alternate-timeline girl. Crazy huh? My sorta thing. Just hope no one is named Dr. Sinclair here.
X-MEN 04 wraps up the first fight with the “U-Men” as they bring back Emma Frost and Hisako back to New York, along with another mutant who attacked on the way and died from some advanced disease that will likely be the focus of this series, and Emma Frost might have, a complication of something they call “second mutation” which is just plain silly. Nevertheless, I am still not sure how I feel about the obligatory Japanese girl in my X-Men Universe, even for a japanese anime. It’s not that I am opposed to them inserting a new character of japanese origin into the universe, it’s that they chose a schoolgirl persona and some kinda armor power that makes her look like she is a glowing robot. I know a lot of fans were not fans of Jubilee in the 90’s cartoon, but she was more relevant to the universe than some japanese schoolgirl, and I know, the universe rebooted with Ultimate X-Men and the movies, but I’ve still got my nostalgia goggles on sometimes for the 80’s and 90’s comics AND the cartoon, where Rogue and Gambit were fucking awesome and the only thing Japan was related to was Wolverine’s taste in women. But I embraced the Ultimate series, because they did an awesome job with the characters and universe, and got me to actually like Kitty Pryde. Don’t fuck this up Marvel, yes Marvel, tired of you allowing the universe to continue to get warped for the sake of profit, with or without my goggles on.
Also, Cyclops is still a douche. Past, and present.
I’ve been passively asked why I like Dog Days and honestly, I’m not completely sure, but after episode 4 I kinda know why now, as I’ve said before, it’s like watching Nanoha StrikerS meets Zero no Tsukiama. Everything from the multitude of characters to the magic fighting styles, cute little dog princess, and mad-stylin’ cat princess. I’m not sure where they are going to go with it, the fact they established essentially a FFTA-style system of non-death within their kingdoms implies that at some point, we’re going to see a battle outside of the protected zone that will be the twist, but the other implication is behind the flashback and portrait of the two princesses and how they used to be childhood friends, but not so much now. Then there is the hero returning home, yadda yadda, and so forth. I’m interested dammit, haters gonna hate.
Hanasaku Iroha 4 briefly tosses Ohana’s first day at her new school, and my how popular she is for being from the city. I sadly was jealous at this part, because when I moved from the de facto country to the city (well, suburb, but around here, pretty close to the city) I got made fun of and ignored. But this is anime, and what would it be if not for our spunky young hero to not have a warming welcome on her first day, and to learn more embarrassing secrets about Minko. This series continues to be just a cheerful delight and it’s often funny how many overlook other series that stick more towards their genre or cliche for this one because it really is simply cute and funny.
Oh Nichijou, you never cease to amuse me often. I find that not everything in this series is funny, but like all the things Mai does without speaking, Yuuko’s overreactions to everything, Koujirou and… well… anything. Still, many compare to A Channel, and it really isn’t a fair comparison. Nichijou compares more to a crazier version ot Azumanga Daioh to me, more Pani Poni Dash, as I mentioned in initial reviews. Really the PPD half is Hakase and Nano and the rest is AD.
ISML starts in less than 12 hours. Details will emerge on tl;dr saimoe tomorrow. It kinda snuck up on me, so I’m not very prepared.