Monthly Archives: March 2014

Accel World

Type: VR’s a thing right?

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Synopsis: This short pudgy kid, perhaps the only short pudgy kid in a genre filled with slim and beautiful young people with fantastic hair, gets bullied and plays a lot of video games. Like any short pudgy kid that plays a lot of video games, he naturally grabs the attention of prettiest girl in school. She is of course an avid gamer herself, and recruits our round hero in her quest to conquer the leader boards. All kidding aside, that VR stuff looked pretty stellar right? Can’t wait to get my own!

Pros: Top notch animation, specifically in the character and background design. Accel World had three sets of character models for each character: the real world human, virtual avatar, and Burst Link fighter. The fact that they used all three, plus different background for game stages, shows that they put effort into making an anime that centers on video game rules and logic. I liked the idea that each person’s Burst Link fighter was designed to compensate for their specific fears and weaknesses (because what person creates a game character that’s not an idealized version of themselves?). The variety of fighting styles and attacks made for excellent fight scenes as well. Haru was also a daring character to use. While his cartoony design put me off at first, I actually found it easier to sympathize with him that more traditional looking leads. It also made it funnier when girls seemingly fell for him. This held true for his pig avatar as well, because I really liked the image of the brave little pig and Butterfly princess. That’s fairy tale stuff right there.

Cons: Haru’s unusual design may turn people off. Like I said, it’s very cartoony and sometimes looks silly during dramatic scenes (like in the opening). The series can be divided in half. The first 12 episodes introduce the basic concepts, characters, and backstory. In an impressive turn of events, the anime mentions that the game has 7 Kings that rule the game and actually introduce most of them. Why “7 kings” when half are clearly women is a tad confusing. On that note, the terms “Mother” and “Child” to describe when someone invites other players into the game became creepy when used by Haru and Princess Black Snow. Also, why that hell couldn’t PBS get a real name (her damn initial are PBS!!) The last 12 episodes are one full story focusing on Dusk Taker, the slimiest little jerk that you just want to throttle. I’m not sure if that’s a negative or a positive, which allowed him to carry such a long story arc. The series has an open-ended finale, which is a shame because I really want to know how it all plays out.

Watch it?: I got into this way more than I thought I would (4/5)

MVP: Ash Roller

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Giga Awesome!

Best Episode: Ep. 14-17 Dusk Taker Arc Part 1 (loss, betrayal, redemption, it had it all!)

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Wagnaria!!

Type: Ironically known as Working!! in Japan

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Synopsis: For Sota Takanashi, making his way in the anime world takes everything he’s got. Mostly because he only likes small cute things. So he accepts a part-time job to take a break from all his worries, which sure does help a lot. Except for all the times he’s punched by a girl with androphobia. But hey, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and you’re always glad the short cute girl came.

Pros: This anime is chill. For reals. It’s the type of anime you can watch while snuggling on the couch with a nice cup of coco to unwind at the end of the day. The anime is a slice-of-life comedy with well defined, if sightly one-dimensional characters. Sota loves small cute things. Popura is annoyed at being called small. Inami is afraid of men and punches them with the best right jab I think I’ve ever seen in an anime (girl could go pro), etc. All the character gags are great. It has a sort sitcom feel (in the good way). What really puts the show over is that it takes place in a restaurant setting, something that a lot of people can relate to. Having characters comically interact during work is a lot more universal than going to a Japanese high school. Though, I would also watch a spin-off with just Sota and his four sisters.

Cons: I loved the show. It’s exactly what I usually want from an anime. I mean, if I wanted to be nitpicky, I could point out that all the women in the show are infantilized, with even the manager having a childish sweet tooth.  I could also point out that nothing really happens, with the biggest conflict being two episodes were Soma is ticked off at Inami. Or that any instances of drama or temporary new characters (except Sota’s sisters) lessened my enjoyment. And both seasons are basically the same. But, since all these things are addressed within the show, and since I loved it, I’m just not going to mention them.

Watch it?: It always made me smile (4/5)

MVP: Aoi Yamada

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She lives in the attic. She’s basically Chavo del Ocho

Best Episode: S.1 Ep.11 “The Two of Them Back Then, Yachiyo and Satō. And, Welcome to the Takanashi Family” (so that’s what people do behind closed doors!)

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Qwaser of Stigmata

Type: It’s Basically Porno

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Synopsis: So…much…boob sucking….

Pros: There’s a solid action series here. Don’t give me that look, there really is! The whole story is about semi-religious organizations fighting for holy relics using elemental powers based on the Periodic Table. I love that stuff. Iron, Mercury, Gold, I think Helium makes an appearance. And I will admit that some of jokes are pretty funny. Breast Puppet Theater has some serious potential.

Cons: This is so sexual. It’s fucking too much. It is so offensive towards women, it makes Larry Flint look like Gloria Steinem. This show literally has weaponized breast feeding. That’s a thing. That’s a thing in this show that people use as a power up. Something that characters violently crave. That’s not fan service, that’s straight up smut. Everything has an uncomfortable SVU undertone to it. I’ve seen a lot of anime, but this is one of the few that’s embarrassed me.

Watch it!?: I’m either incredibly objective or really generous. (2/5)

MVP: I don’t know. Boobs I guess.

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There are a lot of them.

Best Episode: Ep.14 “The Melancholy of Miyuri Tsujido” (except for the ending. Goddam it Qwaser)

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Steel Angel Karumi 2

Type: This Really Sucks

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Synopsis: 75 years after the Steel Angel Karumi learns to that a robot can feel real love and emotion, we learn that she was put into a statue for lol’s. She is awakened by Nako, the female descendant of either Karumi’s first true love, or his brother. It’s cool either way, since Karumi instantly fall in love with Nako, because any semblance of free will she gained from the first series was an illusion. Such is the tragedy of Steel Angels.

Pros: Again, this is really short. At 15 minutes (more like 8 min) each, these 12 episodes will go by fast. You don’t need to have watched Steel Angel Karumi to enjoy this. Any prior knowledge may even prove detrimental. Karumi’s English voice acting is still great, although a bit more nasal than before. Whether this was intentional to differentiate from her past performance or not is unknown.

Cons: Same problem as the original. Nothing super wrong with it, but still average. This one is more slice-of-life than it’s predecessor, but that’s fun in it’s own way. It did bug me that the main character’s catchphrase was “This really sucks,” mostly because it felt a bit lazy. On a personal note, I was bothered by Karumi’s ultimate fate. The show suggest that after the events of Steel Angel Karumi, Karumi and the rest of the angels were shut down and had their memories wiped. This negates all the messages of love and freedom that the first anime made. That’s really sad when you think about it.

Watch it?: Pretend it’s non-cannon (3/5)

MVP: Uruka Sumeragi

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The real star of the show

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Master is a Girl” (robot maid)

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Steel Angel Karumi

Type: 15-minute long episodes

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Synopsis: Unknown to any historian, Japan apparently had mecha-tanks and android-angels from the future in their military by the 1920’s. Beating out American super-soldiers and British time travelers by several decades. One day an angel named Karumi is put in a cave, probably for having pink hair or something, and is found by a boy named Nakahito. She becomes his disturbingly clingy maid, then hilarity ensues.

Pros: I saw this in English, and I have to say, kudos to the voice acting team. Karumi’s voice actress was particularly good, and managed to make a character the said “master” half the time enjoyable. This may be a weird thing to say, but this show had the best whispering I’ve ever heard. Really nuanced. I just flew right through this show, though that may have been because of the 15 minute episode length. The humor is excellent, partially because some of the dialogue had curse words in it.  Any anime that gets the characters to say “fuck” and “shit” gets a pass in my book.

Cons: If I hadn’t watched it in English, I think my feelings for the show would be more negative. Even with it’s short length, this is a pretty by-the-books anime. Robots that may or may not be dangerous, an obsessive love interest, three girls that each fit a certain stereotype. It’s saving grace really is it’s length, because I don’t think I’d be able to handle 24 full episodes of Karumi saying “master.” (It’s just so condescending).

Watch it?: Fun in English, probably not as much in Japanese (3/5)

MVP: Karumi

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Love will save the world

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Sisterly Love” (Love Shack)

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Bodacious Space Pirates

Type: Not as fun as it sounds

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Synopsis: Long ago, the great space pirate Gon Z. Aemon left everything he owned in one piece, not wait, that’s the wrong anime. Let me check my notes here…ah, he actually left everything he owned to his daughter Marika. This included his obligation to captain the Bentenmaru, which can do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. Wait, that’s the wrong thing again, plus a parsec is a measure of distance, not time. Whatever, a chick becomes a space pirate.

Pros: I really liked all the space pirate stuff. Marika was a little slow on the uptake, but midway through, she became a competent and believable space pirate. The fact that her first real mission involved kidnapping a princess and resolving a planet’s political situation by discovering a ghost ship is basically all I ever want from an adventure show.  The end of the series also showed promise by introducing other space pirate and alluding to a larger conflict down the line. The show is at its best when it focuses on the space pirate part.

Cons: This thing is slow at the beginning. And it focuses entirely too much on Marika’s school life and classmates. They were not space pirates and shouldn’t have even been in the show. Sadly, this is like 40% of the entire show. On that note, the whole “space pirate” thing is a misnomer. Since the pirates in the show require a special license, they’re more like privateers. This takes some of the fun of watching a space pirate show. One Piece in space it is not. It also really bugged me that Marika was serving alongside her father’s old crew. It made it harder to invest in them because I knew they were already experienced pirates. It would have worked better if she had either assembled her own crew, or at least started as a shipmate that worked her way up to captain.

Watch it?: I just couldn’t get into it (3/5)

MVP: Marika Kato

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The brightest spot in the show

Best Episode: Ep. 25 “The Pirate Council Begins” (I love bad guy round tables)

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