When Life is Just a Game
So, here is the thing. Initially, I was not even going to bother finishing Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru because frankly, I didn’t enjoy it. However, the mid-section of episodes sorta got interesting, and from reading Twitter responses in the final few weeks, I felt it would be prudent to at least finish it and either give it its due process, or be shocked and turned around. I’m afraid there was no Turnabout here today. But I am a fair man. I will explain why.
Also included are final reviews for Minami-ke, Sasami-san@Gabaranai, Little Busters even though it’s one episode left, it’s pretty much done to me. Also, a short blurb about Ai Mai Mi even though I will not formally review it since it was a “shorts” anime. With this, Spring has come to a close.
I know, I should be programmed by the Moevolution to accept these shows and embrace them, but maybe its an overload of the concept or just poorly written characters, but this iteration of Generic Harem Blackmail Delusional BEST GIRL Anime #420382892 just did not grab me, especially in the first half. Trying to emulate The Neighbors’ Club was just unnecessary it hurts, and as much as it pains me to say it, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! simply did a better job with that whole “blackmail using the chunni journal” concept. It just felt like way too many previously used or worn-out tropes put together to really make a show worth watching on actual merits. So discarding all of that, could I watch it purely on its “primal instincts” alone, aka just the characters?
The answer to that, is no. I could not. A lot of folks had their BEST GIRL, but here is why I could not get behind any of them:
Harusaki Chiwa – Billed in the beginning as the de facto “childhood friend” she’s small, squeaky, and cute. I’m sure Japan loves these types, but of the ones I know, they’re the ones you have to be careful with. Whores and cock-traps, the whole lot of em. I found Chiwa annoying almost most of the show, and even in the moments when you feel she might be the winning girl, she just kind of inserts her foot in her mouth or just comes off as a desperate girl.
Natsukawa Masuzu – The cunning and devilish fourth wheel, she uses Eita’s notebook of middle school delusions to trap him into a false relationship and manipulate the other girls in the group simply because she is “misunderstood”. Far from it, when Saeko busted her down to her basic components, I about laughed off my chair. She literally had no claim to Eita’s “Iron Throne” and she knew it, and she dragged this entire show’s cast through truly uninspiring and boring episodes reciting pages from the journal just to prove to herself she is a cunning bitch. For the record, I dated a girl like this. It did not end well.
Akishino Himeka – If there was an even more unnecessary character than Masuzu, it would have to be Hime. She exists to draw in guys like me into this show, the soft-spoken, delusional, gamer-type obsessed with fantasy. I’ll admit, 4/10, they almost had me sold on her, but if you take away all of that, she is just a shell of broken dreams. I just couldn’t get behind her at all, her claim to fame was meeting him in some game, or some place, connecting on only his “Burning Fighting Fighter” credentials alone. Her desperation rivaled Chiwa’s, in a more twisted manner.
Fuyuumi Ai – Finally, Ai. I’ll actually reverse-course here and say of the four girls after Eita’s junk, Ai was probably the most human and sincere of them all. Granted, her memories of Kindergarten possessed her entire life, and expecting someone to remember a marriage proposal as kids is downright silly, she at least made genuine efforts to adapt to her current understanding of Eita. If she could have simply shed away her starry-eyed past, I would be willing to take an ax for “Team Pink”, but she just couldn’t let go to those silly notions, and that made her as desperate if not more than Chiwa or Hime.
Maybe I am over-reaching all of this a bit, since I most certainly knew it wasn’t going to be anything top-shelf or DEEP in any sense, but I guess this is my way of saying that this shit just needs to stop. It’s just so overplayed now. For once, I’d like to see anime try this plot again with real girls, real personalities, not the shovel-ready shit we feed weeaboos to buy more playsets and toys. Tell you what, I’ll write a LN about my experience with four girls after high school. Guaranteed terrible.
Title: Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
Sub Group I Watched: Commie
Rating (1-10): 6
Favorite Character: Saeko Kiryuu
Least Favorite Character(s): Masuzu Natsukawa
TEAM ______ Pink
SHIPPING: Eita + A fence post
Second Season? Please, god, no more. Just, no more.
I have to admit, when I first read the premise for Sasami-san@Gabaranai I wasn’t sure what to think. SHAFT has a way of delivering us very odd and perplexing shows both visually and in storytelling. Madoka, for example, made use of bizarre visuals that were reminiscent of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and movies, with a story that played straight magical girl for a bit, before twisting into dark and bizarre notions of humanity and space-time. Sasami-san starts off being just a shut-in girl with an overly-emotionally attached brother whose face you never see. She keeps tabs on him though and ensures that he only remains loyal to her. I actually thought this would just end up being some kind of school comedy or SoL along that premise. Boy, I was completely fucking wrong. Like, seriously.
What we got, was essentially someone’s TL;DR version of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods with a Japanese-twist and some standard character tropes added in to draw the crowd. New versus Old Gods, crazy manipulations of space-time, android robot girls, Tama, it was just a hodge-podge of things in a show that made it difficult to follow, but never took itself seriously, so you felt like it didn’t really matter. They pretty much pressed the reset button anyway liberally so that you could stick with the show until the end. Suffice to say, they were rather good about it. I’m not saying this show was AOTY or THEBESTTHEBESTTHEBEST, but it had a unique flair to it that kept me watching throughout, and even given a not-really-useful ending, I enjoyed the ride and would ride again. I also liked the OP a lot, it was catchy as fuck. So you know? I approve. That happened.
Sub Group I Watched: gg
Rating (1-10): 8
Favorite Character: Kagami Yagami
Least Favorite Character(s): With such few characters, I could not settle on a dislike. Huehue.
Favorite God: Tsurugi
Kamiomi’s Face? I would have loved to actually see them reveal it in the end, but I think that was actually a clever way of keeping his character sort of “out of the way” while remaining semi-important to Sasami and the others.
Second Season? Certainly more could be made, I don’t anticipate we’ll know for awhile though. Even as huge as Madoka is, no word of more of that has been said, so I tend to follow the notion that SHAFT likes to double-down on single-hit wonders.
Minami-ke has become one of those staple shows that appears every couple of years with a new 13-episode season, and you know what you are getting. You are getting Slice-of-Life in its finest form, through the lives of three ordinary sisters and all of their friends. You get Haruka and her mature, adult way of handling the household while remaining vulnerable to the vices of life, Kana and her mischievous aura of impracticality and foolishness, and Chiaki with her no-nonsense approach to everything while remaining perfectly naive about the world around her. It’s the kind of school life some of us with we had, even if we weren’t girls, and there were certainly plenty of guys (and Mako-chan) to illustrate the random adventures of the Minami household with, from the unlucky one-sided love-sick puppy Fujioka, to the eccentric shirtless gives-no-fucks Hosaka, and the cross-dressing-for-attention Makoto. There isn’t much I can really say about this franchise, it’s a safe choice every season, I always know what I’m going to get, and I enjoy every bit of it, and am sad there is not more. Sadder still, I have to wait a “Game of Thrones” style time frame to get more episodes. A travesty indeed.
Title: Minami-ke Taidama
Sub Group I Watched: UTW
Rating (1-10): 8
Favorite Character: Chiaki
Least Favorite Character(s): Makoto/Mako-chan
THE CURRY FAIRY: I’m telling you, whenever I try to make homemade curry, I will not stop thinking about Hosaka shirtless. That thought disturbs me. Greatly.
Kana-ism of the Season: Too many. Can’t think of them all.
Hayami Eyes If looks could kill they probably will.
I was never really big on Key series, in fact, after surviving Kanon, I made it a point to stay away from anything Megatokyo’s author likes his waifus to be like. Little Busters was a show that just dragged on forever, far longer than I feel it should have been, and from the descriptions on MAL and elsewhere, the anime did not play out like the VN did, and for that I was disappointed. I wanted to see that story animated, see something interesting happen to Riki’s “world” and instead they teased you with what amounted to visual porn through characters that fit every person’s dream while doing nothing especially interesting with them. There were a couple interesting character plots, namely Haruka and Kanata, but they spent an ungodly amount of time drawing out this otherwise useless story of playing baseball through twenty-six episodes, and twenty-six hasn’t aired yet. If something interesting happens, I’ll retcon this and re-write it, but as it stands, it’s twenty-six episodes of
Title: Little Busters
Sub Group I Watched: UTW-Mazui
Rating (1-10): 7
Favorite Character: Yuiko Kurugaya
Least Favorite Character(s): Kengo Miyazawa
Lesbian Television: It seemed like when nothing else could happen, just pool all the girls together and have at each other.
Y U Haet Key? It’s not so much hate as I just don’t gel with their stories and styles, it’s all the mushy romance/drama carp, which really would be fine, but it’s so uninspiring and boring. Sakamichi no Apollon was interesting. Little Busters was not. It’s just a show filled with characters to reel in fans who like X girl over Y girl or by archetype.
Fred-chan’s Waifu: I’m going to guess Komari, what with her tragic past and all.
That’s it for Spring. As I mentioned above, I am not formally reviewing Ai Mai Mi, but I can tell you I was amused by its strange and eccentric shorts. Nothing to bat home over, but I literally watched half of the episodes off my Android while in the bathroom streaming over my network. I think it fit the premise.
Spring season awaits this week with five premieres starting with Ginga Kikōtai Majestic Prince on Thursday, followed by seven more next week starting with Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W on Monday. Excited to get some new grooves on, so stay tuned for new previews and all that jazz.