Five Yen For Your Thoughts
I’ve put seventy-five hours into Starbound since a little before this time last month. It’s a little disconcerning, especially since I wanted to finish Bioshock Infinite. BUT THERE IS STILL MORE THINGS TO DIG. Fuck, now I know why I don’t play Minecraft and I quit WoW many years ago.
So anime, right… suffice to say, only a handful of shows are keeping my attention this season. The rest I watch when I remember to, when I am bored, or to make fun of on Twitter (Chu2Koi, looking at you) or the blog. But, everything can’t be Symphogear for me and necessitate refreshing Nyaa every five minutes and downloading RAWs.
Anyway, this week I present a POWER RANKINGS special, fifteen micro-weeklies for everything on my docket this season, ordered from best to worst. It promises to be a mostly terrible affair.
“American Gods: The Anime”
I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods a bunch of years ago. It’s a pretty great book about old gods versus new gods, with one guy stuck in the middle. Noragami plays a similar vibe to me, but with the Bones treatment. The manga didn’t really grab me too well, and the first episode of the show wasn’t anything to bat home over, but it started to pick up a bit in the next few episodes to where I was genuinely interested in where things were going. Compared to the rest of the field this season, it’s consistency mostly, but I mean, look at the rest of the field. All you have to do is nail some good visuals with an interesting story and characters and you’re ahead of most. #2 Wizard Barristers
I said I wanted a Magical Phoenix Wright, and by fucking god I got it and then some. The eyes hark back to some XEBEC-type bullshit, but you have Wakamoto Frog and Cecil SUDO. The Linux in me can’t ignore that joke. But in all seriousness, it was a real close call between this and Noragami on the top of my list, because if there are any shows I actually enjoy watching this season, Barristers is up there right now. Here is hoping they stay. #3 Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta
“Russia: The Fall of the Czar”
I never saw Last Exile, so when it comes to Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, this is as good as it is getting in the air. It had a somewhat boring start for me, but the last two episodes got interesting going into the backstories, and then for Claire to end up being Nina Viento, welp, guess we know how tragic this is going to end. It’s really rather like Anastasia: The Anime in a few ways, if you equate Rasputin with Nina. I’m genuinely interested to see where this goes, actually. #4 Nobunagun
“History: Made Every Episode”
Nobunagun is hitting my “action hero show” vibe of the season in the right spots. It’s not Symphogear, because Sio can’t be Hibiki, but it’s doing a pretty decent job of connecting historical figures with weapons. That said, the music is trying to be Five Finger Death Punch when, let’s face it, Japan isn’t that great at the genre, in my opinion. The visuals also like to switch to a lot of blues. I almost feel like they should have just made her hair blue to begin with, as I often forget that it is not blue. Above all? Needs more Galileo and her :3 face. #5 Mahou Sensou
“The real season of StrikerS”
It’s pretty obvious that Mahou Sensou is going straight for something in-between Nanoha and Witchcraft Works here, leaning more towards Nanoha with a grittier premise. We all remember how StrikerS, while being tried and true to the Nanoha brand, fell short of the expectations set by its previous seasons by including too much TRAINING filler. Mahou Sensou wastes no time allowing them to get comfortable with their school lives, going straight for the action with Mui’s brother. But let’s face it, some of us are watching to see if Isoshima enlarges her tits again. Why tease us with that first episode gimmick if she isn’t going to use it, or anything, again? #6 Seitokai Yakuindomo
I love dead-pan jokes. It’s an underestimated and under-deserved form of comedy that no one ever practices because we apparently live in this “always-on” society where people have to get the joke or punchline or they don’t even bother. That’s probably why American television is so shitty and relies on stereotypes and pop-culture references to wow audiences, because they’re too stupid to sit and think about the joke for three seconds and then laugh. Go youtube the Big Bang Theory minus laughtrack videos and tell me if you find their jokes funny. As for Seitokai, it’s sex humor weaved into every-day student adventures. I mean, it’s nothing to squawk about, but it’s still pretty amusing. #7 Golden Time
“Stupid Sexy Banri”
I’m a bit far behind on this, but the overall consensus of this show has not changed for me, it’s still Super Banri Bros. at its best, while we all talk up Linda and how she is the best girl. I’m not usually a fan of romcoms, because most of them fail to execute one of the other well, but here it seems to be working very well together, and that may just be the characters in play, there aren’t many sameface personalities like OreImo tends to display. The first half was easily some quality television, so I am hoping the second pans out just as well. #8 Onee-chan ga Kita
“Finally, a show about older sisters.”
The problem with watching OreImo is where most people on my hitlists were championing the siscon-end, I was not. I am far from anything related to my sister, because unlike anime, real sister relationships are touchy at best, and mine has been classically devoid of anything substantial in some time. Here, the older sister complex comes into play, and this is one I rather wish happened to me when either of my parents remarried, but I was already out of high school, so it never materialized. Three minutes is criminal for this show, but it’s the perfect appetizer for going into the main courses of weekly shows. Sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. #9 Tonari no Seki-kun
“Maybe you just have ADD, Yokoi.”
Another perfect appetizer show for this season is Seki’s weekly desk adventures, or as I like to call it, The Adventures of My Fifth Grade. Only it’s taken to much larger and much grander scales, and based on the manga, they are not doing a half-bad job with it. The animation isn’t top-notch, but it really doesn’t have to be when it is Yokoi reaction-faces and only her VA’s voice throughout the episode. I imagine any more effort would be sort of like trying to win a Super Bowl when you’re Denver. Too soon? #10 Saki: Zenkoku-hen
“NOW WITH 33% MORE WAHAHA AND TACOS”
It’s really more Saki, and that’s about it. It’s nice that we’ve returned to the present and we’re getting back along what we started five or so years ago, but I’m so lost in new characters it’s really becoming a show where I just watch what is on and sort of hope for the best. It’s the kind of show that could almost air thirteen separate shows going back through each team, but the only one they chose to do so with was Achiga. But hey, maybe we’ll finally see Saki go up against her sister and SHOW HER WITH MAHJONG.
Nah, who am I kidding? UNTIL NEXT SEASON.#11 Kill la Kill
“COVERS, for those who think young.”
I get that Kill la Kill was supposed to be Trigger’s big hurrah, sort of showing us what someone other than GAINAX can do with edgy anime, but outside of flashy, over-the-top battles, the rest of the experience leaves little to be desired. The revenge quest dug deep into the first half and sort of promised us some kind of release, a real fight between Satsuki and Ryuuko, but then they quickly threw in the Shyamalan-twist with Harime Nui actually being her real revenge target. The result was giving us this less-than-powerful mini-fight between the two after she got all the pieces back to her outfit. Now we have this whole upper layer of corporate maneuvers and alien powers controlling clothes?
See, things were much simpler when it was just The Satsuki Reich taking over schools and turning pawns into super-pawns, but now we have a bunch of unnecessary bullshit no one cares about when all we want to see is Ryuuko fight more bitches and somehow come out on top through bullshit and unicorn magic. It just needs to be PSG-level absurd. Why add the fluff? You’re not going to take it seriously anyway.#12 Gin no Saji 2nd Season
“Down on the farm.”
It’s a show that picks up the standard anime genres and spins it in a different direction. It’s obviously not as stupidly-cute as Non Non Biyori was, but it holds its own as a show worth watching when nothing else is on. Admitingly, I’m sort of behind on this, back into the first season, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve gotten. It’s like southern comfort food, which is why for those of you who don’t live in America and just want to stereotype, fuck you, we have bacon and grits. #13 Space Dandy
“The whole show should just be at Boobies. Space is clearly unnecessary.”
One-a-week gag shows are a staple of most American animation, especially in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It’s the concept of compartmentalizing all of the episode’s events into something like an alternate universe, where no matter what happens to the characters, be they burned, cut, killed, or compressed into cubes and dyed green, they return all healthy and fine the next episode. Perma-death is only reserved for the most trite and useless of characters, like Maude Flanders, or
Wake me up when they get to another Boobies, or when Meow says something stupid on Twitter.#14 Witchcraft Works
“Let me save you some time, it’s about a girl stuck in God Mode and a boy who is actually Richard “The Levelord” Gray. Hilarity ensues.”
JC STAFF, as usual, comes into this show spending a significant portion of their animation budget on very flashy and fiery action scenes involving The Princess and all of the Tower Witches who oppose her. But that’s really it. Now, credit where credit is due, it doesn’t completely suck, and I actually am enjoying the anime more than I did the manga, but they’re going to have a hard time animating their way out of a fantastically horrid manga that is as predictable as it is flashy. I’m betting most of you, with no knowledge other than the set-up of the first episode, can probably figure out where most of this is going to go. But if you guessed Shana, you’re wrong. Unfortunately, Yuji was three times the man Takamiya Honoka is in this show, especially when he converts to Darth Yuji in Shana Final. #15 Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
“Never change, KyoAni.”
Ah, the season’s shit box. Look, I know some of you like this show, and others were even the slightest bit hopeful it would turn out to be something better. I’m one of those people, but let’s face it, KyoAni exists to rehash the same shit over and over on a different color plate, and you’ll eat it up and ask for more. This season is simply the same bullshit as the first season, as if the semi-serious events of the final quarter of the first season didn’t matter. Now, I know, this is KyoAni’s modus operandi, why should they change? It’ll sell BDs and merchandise, and probably renew it for a third season or a movie. Say what you will about K-ON!, but at least it had some purpose to it, and characters I actually liked.
But I’ll keep watching it, like a trainwreck, because who else is going to riff this FUCKING MASTERPIECE on Twitter for you?
If you’re American and you watched tonight’s Super Bowl, man, what a shitty game. It continually reinforces my theory that these games are rigged much like McDonalds used to rig its Monopoly game. The only respectable sport left is hockey. But I am not Canadian, so fuck that.
Instead, have more YOKOI REACTION FACE.