November 10, 2018

Crunchyroll...What is UP With the Subtitles?



From Rascal Doesn't Dream of Bunnygirl Senpai which, despite this nonrepresentative frame is still gorgeously drawn and really, really well written.  

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October 31, 2018

It's Over

 I took refuge on campus and thus avoided the ravenous hoards of tiny but insatiable mouths.


 Anyway, here is a wolfgirl cosplaying as a witch.


Appropriational art by Lansane

UPDATE: J. Greely discusses these matters rather more thoroughly here

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October 28, 2018

Palate Cleanser

A few weeks ago we looked at the official video of this K-Pop song. Well it's a hit, so there are now the inevitable MMD videos. Well, instead of just downloading the rotoscoping into MMD, some circle named DD Animations seems to have taken the same bog-standard MMD motion capture file and plugged it into Yandere Simulator.


 
But then they got creative with the editing.


This is really well done. 
The only issue with this is the troubling fact that there actually isYandere Simulator.

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October 25, 2018

First 2 Minutes


The last season of RWBY looking promising enough that the inevitable betrayal could sting quite a bit.

Just two days to go.

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October 22, 2018

And Then, As I Stood Before the Refrigerator

It dawned upon me.

Don't they cremate people in Japan?

In related news, I watched the first three episodes of Zombieland Saga again.


Regarding some of the concerns brought up by cxt217 in the comments of the earlier post:

The agent/human beatbox/cosmetologist is actually a character trope of sports manga and to an extent idol shows as well.  He's rather over the top, but not by as much as one might think given the genres involved.

Regarding concerns about Hoshikawa,  

I wonder if, in addition to everything else the show is, this counts as Isekai?

Shipstorm  

Please use spoiler tags.

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October 21, 2018

ZombieLand Saga

I suddenly find myself at a loss for words. 

I read the blurb. But what the blurb describes...that's not what I watched.



From the Blurb...

A typical morning. The usual music. Their normal lives. The peace these seven girls experience will suddenly be destroyed. By the living dead... zombies. A reality that they never wanted a part of, an amazing and terrifying zombie world. They all share one wish: "We want to live." These girls will struggle through this saga, in order to achieve a miracle. MAPPA, Avex Pictures, and Cygames team up to bring you a juicy, 100% original anime. A timeless shocker for all audiences, a brand new style of zombie anime, will soon rise.

Now ignore the blurb. 

Completely.

Just go watch Zombie Land Saga posthaste.

No. I mean NOW!

Trust me.

This is the show to beat this season.

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Thank You Mauser

If not for your post, I never would have watched this show.


It's not like the poster is devoid of appeal...



...but it and the blurb didn't really grab me. 

However, unlike the show reviewed below, this is not exactly what it says on the tin. While that poster is not, strictly speaking, dishonest, it does not adequately convey what this show is about.

Eight Word Title With Bunny Girl In It now has me totally  hooked. Despite the poster and an early scene with one of the characters running around in a bunny suit, this is a really creepy show and reminds me most of the Josei horror that was popular at the turn of the century. 

It's low key. It's well written and it's keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The characters are well done, likable and react to the just plain "off" things happening around them in rational but believable ways, while still trying to deal with day to day life.


" Yeah. I agree. Shadowbanning is a real problem." 


2 episodes in this is definitely looking like a keeper.


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In Todays World...




This is an important component of one's last will and testament.



For...some people. 
...
 
I hear tell.

From That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime, which, perhaps surprisingly, is a show about exactly what it says on the tin.

A slime, for those of you who don't know, is a low level monster in a lot of computer role playing games, in the fantasy genre 'inspired' by D&D. They are essentially a  carnivorous blob of jello for beginning and low level players to learn the ropes on. The lowest and weakest of monsters.

Our hero, having done a genuinely heroic thing which got him killed, is granted a request by the what appears to be the Samsarra AI. However, his dying requests are contradictory and the transmigration algorithm screws up, reincarnating him in a suspiciously D&D like  fantasy world....but as a slime.

Yeah, it's another Isekai show, but the loser wish fulfillment is somewhat tempered by... 

Our hero.

But he's not just a slime! He has an intellect and all of his memories of his education, his job in construction oversight...and playing D&D. 

He quickly becomes the most OP...uh slime... you've ever seen. 

This is genuinely odd.
It's not, necessarily good mind you, but it has potential and at episode 3 it is amusing me quite a bit more than it perhaps ought to. 

Still watching.

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October 03, 2018

Oh. Wow. This Looks...GOOD!?

I think Miles Morales is going to work out just fine.


This is very promising...right up until that point that the trailer becomes sublime.

It looks really fun, and as a special bonus it seems to be completely respectful of Marvel canon.
 
ALL OF THE CANON. 

Oh my stars and garters, this is on my watch list!  

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September 14, 2018

An Admittedly Poor Substitute For Actual Content:

But the editing is quite good. 

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September 05, 2018

Stein's Gate



Stein's Gate is a series from 2011 that was popular and fairly well regarded. I'd missed it at the time, but as the one reported beacon of goodness in the vast wasteland that is this season is a sequel to that show, I decided to check it out before starting  Sten's Gate Zero.

This turned out to be a sound decision, not only because Stein's Gate Zero makes exactly zero sense without the prequel, but because Stein's Gate is a very neat show.

The story begins with Rintaro Okabe and Itaru Hashida two nerdy male college students and Mayuri Shiina, a moe-blob cosplayer. They run a small applied sciences lab in an apartment rented over a used electronics store. Their current project involves a highly modified food service microwave oven which has been modified to operate via cell phone and internet connection. As the dumpster derived device had no working magnetron, they're also working on a magnetron analog of their own design which is performing...rather erratically. 

When two of them decide to go to a physics lecture being given by a controversial scientist, they bump into Kurisu Makise, a neuroscience graduate student on summer break from her studies in the U.S.  

And then things get weird.

This is an odd show with all sorts of overused cliche's, gratuitous fanboy references and adult onset Chuunibyou.

It also manages to be absolutely riveting. 

In the course of 24 episodes our band of 3 nerdy tinkerers and their otaku shield bearers find themselves involved with a whole slew of science weirdness, international conspiracies, the Akihabara chamber of commerce, the Large Hadron Collider and...traps.    

Be advised that the superficial wackieness serves as comic relief and a tension breaker. This is dark science fantasy. The story is absolutely gut wrenching at times, almost to the point of sadism in some scenes. However, the characters are endearing and there is a most definite thread of hope that runs through the whole show.

All the characters tend to have surprising (often hidden) depths. My only complaint is that Kurisu Makise, the awesome female lead is somewhat underutilized, at least at first. 



All in all, I quite enjoyed Stein's Gate. It's smart, enjoyable and full of surprises.

 Aside from the caveat that you go in understanding that it is occasionally quite  brutal, I highly recommend this series. 

It's just really well done. 






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July 26, 2018

Not Everything I Saw At Moe Lane's Blog This Morning Caused Me to Fear For Humanity...

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July 17, 2018

Intersectionality: Am I Doing it Right?


Art by Mokerou

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July 08, 2018

The Feng Shui of Superheroing

For most of this season, My Hero Academia has had amazing pacing. The stakes of the characters' actions have become steadily higher as the show has gone on and this superhero cartoon is one of the few shows that has really kept me on the edge of my seat. 


This has been a really well done story in which our heroes witness what appears to be the denouement of an epic tale that has defined a previous generation of heroes. 

The episode that wrapped up that arc (ep49) was just...EXCESLIOR!1!!!

Now, In episode 51 we are well into the "High-School Kids Decorate Their Dorm Rooms" arc. 



This ought to be something of a let down but it works as a respite from the incredible tension of the first half of the season. Furthermore, these two episodes, which have been devoid of fights have had some serious character and plot development and have been eminently watchable. 

In this sense the show reminds me of the old Claremont run on X-Men or some of the books like Young Justice where much of the important stuff was happening when 'nothing was happening'.

They've also looked at ethical issues that these kids are facing; namely the unnerving fact that there is no hard and fast Venn diagram comparing 'Law and Justice' or 'Legal and Right', which, as the late Steve Ditko might have said, is ultimately The Question.

I'm sure there will be some hemming and hawing about "FILLER ARC!" but the way they are doing these less action oriented episodes actually seems to me to be good storytelling. Furthermore, while this is definitely a Japanese Shounen type of show, it's clear that the creators really GET American superhero comics.

Besides, it looks like the down time will be of limited duration....

 


I'm an old fart and am enjoying the heck out of this show, but if you have kids they are the ones that should be watching it.


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One Room



What....did I just watch?

Logging in to Crunchyroll revealed some new shows so I randomly picked a show that was at Episode zero. 

I perused One Room's blurb and frankly read too much into it. 
 You are the protagonist. A new project in virtual anime from SMIRAL Animation that also brought you the "Anitore" series and "Makuranodanshi." This time, the project is about 3 stories that develop in your (one) room.

From that straightforward discription I somehow thought this was going to be experimental story telling. While it kind of is, it's less My Dinner With Andre' than How I Met Moe'. It says right there in the blurb 'you are the protagonist'...and indeed Episode zero involves "You" (presumably a mute) answering the door to find Yui Hasanaka, a young girl who asks "You" to help her study for her entrance exams.



The episode then proceeds to be a montage of her being...disturbingly...Moe'. By the time the show's four minutes was up I was thinking that Yui may need therapy. There's a LOT of codependency there. 

It then dawned on me that there may be more to this show, because I never even made it to the refrigerator when a glaring inconsistency emerged:

Yui is from the country and is completely bewildered by life in the most pleasant and resident-friendly big city in the world. She's in need of remedial tutoring for her college entrance exams. She's a helpless waif...out of her element. 

And yet....

more...

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June 18, 2018

This Week's Code Word is Janissary












Not pictured: the actual, honest to God tear running down my cheek...from watching a fricking superhero cartoon.

The current crop of anime has largely been a vast, insipid wasteland. However,  My Hero Academia is really making up for that. 

My only complaint is that they cannot possibly keep this up.

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May 12, 2018

A Place Farther Than the Universe (eps. 1-3)


What a wondrous age we live in! Despite having run its entire 13 episodes over the winter A Place Further Than the Universe can still be watched on Crunchyroll, and that is a wonderful thing because it would have been a crying shame to have missed this show. 



Mari Tamaki
is inert. Suffering from an excess of anxiety and a deficit in motivation, she suddenly realizes to her abject horror that she's accomplished nothing of note in her entire life. No achievements beyond the most perfunctory, no books written, lovers loved, children raised, careers, or adventures of any kind have punctuated her monotonous existence. 

She's also 16 so she's in a better position to rectify this sort of deep and profound personal failure than most of us. 

After several false attempts at breaking her life's cycle of unrelenting banality, she notes a young lady drop something while rushing to catch the train. 


Oh look. Foreshadowing!

When her attempt to return the item fails, she notices that it contains 1,000,000 yen. The girl was wearing a uniform from Mari's school so our heroine tracks her down and eventually reunites Shirase Kobuchizawa with her cash. As this is Japan and not an America high school, the money is not the result of Miss Kobuchizawa selling reprocessed fentanyl to the gym coach*, but rather money that she's been tallying up from various part time jobs with a specific goal in mind. 

Shirase Kobuchizawa wants to go to Antarctica. 

You see, Kobuchizawa's mother was an Antarctic researcher. 3 years prior, Mom went to Antarctica as part of a research expedition. In the process she encountered some mishap, and no body was ever found. Just before she left Mrs. Kobuchizawa had written a book (titled A Place Farther Than the Universe  ) , a copy of which Kobuchizawa gives Mari.

Mari is quite impressed that Shirase has her act together to such a degree, and is working towards a genuinely outre' and interesting goal. She asks to help and tag along in hopes of doing....something...and so the adventure begins. 



The show has a very different style than most. Live action backgrounds are used occasionally and the animation, while top-notch, gives off a very experimental vibe. In some ways it reminds me of a visual novel in its look. This is a genuinely well done show on all levels.the characters are surprisingly well realized and are pretty believable as precocious 16 year olds. That is, they alternate between determined, clever, naive and...dumb as a box of hair...much like actual teenagers. 


"Wait...THAT was you're plan?"

Other characters include Yuzuki Shiraishi a lurking cultist a successful but lonely singer and You-Tube personality, whose character type is somewhat cliche' but is beautifully handled here. Her mother/manager/slave-driver has signed her up to do an eco-friendly youth reporting gig on the expedition, and to say that Shiraishi is unenthusiastic is a massive understatement. When the girls try to sign on a junior reporters she tries to arrange for them to go in her stead....but is only half successful. On the other hand, finding friends that don't see her as a prop, connection or tool is an acceptable trade off.   



There is also, intriguingly, a rare, positive portrayal of a young Freeta. Hinata Miyake is a 16 year old who works in the Lawsons that Mari ends up working at.  Miyake does not go to high school, and supports herself. Japan, you see, has no compulsory education past 16. Hinata's is not at all interested in dealing with the BS of high school and since high school in Japan is mostly college prep, she's just gone ahead and taken the equivalent of a GED exam. She is studying independantly and plans to apply to college in a few years after building a nest egg and hopefully doing some traveling. Miyake has saved up a fair bit of money and when she finds out about the heroes plan, she eagerly asks to contribute. 


Which is another way of saying, "The stars are right".

Thus far, this is one of the best of the 'Cute Girls doing Cute Things' shows I've seen and unlike most has a sense of real direction personal growth. 

Remember though, this is a show about putting together an expedition to find what happened to someone who dissappeared...in Antarctica. The title of the show and the book that guides our heroines is A Place Farther Than the Universe, a title which has all sorts of eldritch implications**. We've all read enough Frank Belknap Long, John Campbell Jr.  and Lovecraft to know where this delightful girls adventure series is really going. As of episode 3 however, there is little indication of the any impending dread. I guess they are building the tension gradually. 

Here's the show stats at this point:

Penguins-2 (stuffed)
Bodies-0
Shuggoths-0
Moe' Blobs-4

Recommended? -YES!



*No indication is given as to what Shirase's job is, so fentanyl is technically a possibility. 
** (I think that's where Azathoth lives)

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May 09, 2018

In the Queue

This is what I'm looking at as I'm trying to get caught up amongst some of the shows that came and went while I was distracted.


Laid Back Camp: Another high-school after school club with an all girl membership, this show nevertheless is highly recommended by people whose judgement I trust, so I'm giving it a go.

A Place Farther Than the Universe: A girl goes to Antarctica to find her missing father, dragging her friends along in the process. This one is particularly intriguing. Allegedly another high school girls show focusing on self-discovery, it's plot involves Antarctica as well as missing people and I've read enough Frank Belknap Long and H.P. Lovecraft to know where this is going.

Yona of the Dawn: Another journey of the hero story where a young noble must gather together a team consisting entirely of the opposite sex to avenge the late king and save the land. The protagonist, Yona, is a princess in an exotic medieval fantasy world, one with a decidedly asian flavor and where women's breasts are much smaller than their heads. 


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May 07, 2018

It's Back IT'S BACK!



Actually My Hero Academia has been back for over a month, but given exams, papers, work and health issuesI've been completely oblivious to this happy development. 

This was, perhaps, fortuitous as the first episode and a half of the new season are rather uninspiring. Had I been watching them as they came out, I might have dropped the show. That would have been a shame.

  The season opener is a recap of previous episodes through the eyes of characters reflecting on the events of the last 38 episodes including a new instructor being given a run down of every character's superpower. They top off this collection of Shounen tropes by making it a beach episode. 
A completely safe for work beach episode.  
Episode two starts off much the same but ends with some vague hints that the series might be turning around. Episode three continues to remind us that this is definitely based on a Japanese shounen comic, as it is liberally sprinkled with the cliche's of that genre. However, these are well done and it turns out that...

This is where season three REALLY begins!

...ahem.

So far this is everything that the second half of season one was.  This is a kids show, and yet as I watched these 5 episodes, it actually brought tears to my eyes. It's more enjoyable and better storytelling than 99% of what's on. If I had a kid they'd be watching it. Probably. I say probably because especially around episode 42 parental previewing is advised. Your milage may vary, but, parents be aware that, while the heroes (with a few pointed exceptions) are very idealistic in a particularly American silver-age way, the villains are...not

At its heart, My Hero Academia is a love letter to American superhero comics of yesteryear and its Japanese flavor makes it something more. The show continues to do things that one doesn't see much of in American comics and visual media any more. It ponders the nature of heroism, while acknowledging the virtues of arete', stoicism honor and sacrifice. 

If you dropped My Hero Academia after the first episodes of this season, be aware that  you've been led astray by a cunning trick perpetrated by nefarious villains to get people to drop the show, get it cancelled and deny the world this show's heroic life lessons. DON'T FALL FOR IT! Go watch it now!

PLUS ULTRA!

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March 11, 2018

On a Lighter Note...

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