When in doubt, just add boobs

Convergence is supposed to be a cool thing. In technological convergence, I’m supposed to get a slick black box that does everything for me. Convergence in anime, on the other hand, is apparently the process of taking different anime series and homogenizing the shit out of them until you get a tasteless slurry. But that’s okay; like how a sprig of parsley is supposed to liven up a plate of overcooked stodge, there’s nothing quite like a pair of ginormous, bouncing tits to hide the blemishes of your average anime series. The preceding paragraph essentially describes two of the three shows I watched tonight.

Medaka Box
What would we do without our bossy Mary Sue heroines? Haruhi has one armband? Well, Medaka has five! Haruhi’s a club leader? Medaka’s a student council president! She even has a reluctant boy toy that she drags along with her. Zenkichi totally doesn’t want to go along with her plans!… only to, naturally, go along with them anyway. So what are Medaka’s plans? Is it to find aliens and time travelers in some thinly-veiled attempt to disguise her crippling loneliness? For all of my complaints about the Suzumiya Haruhi series, Haruhi’s pathos was hinted at early and often. At least she has a reason for being a Mary Sue (what with being a God and all). All that Medaka Box‘s first episode really tells me about our main character is that she’s a sanctimonious do-gooder who likes to give dull speeches about her duty to the well-being of her classmates and stuff. Oh yeah, she can also beat you in kendo just because. But is that all she really is?

From the looks of it, the Wikipedia page tells me that the story won’t be quite as simple as the first episode of the adaptation would have you believe. If that’s the case, though, why open the story with a plot so boring that it could hardly be distinguished from SKET Dance? No, really, Medaka becomes the student council president and her first mission is to solve her peers’ myriad problems. That sounds totally boring and SKET Dance-y. If first impressions are everything, why kick things off in such a bland and boring way? Even if the rest of the series is nothing but shounen nonsense, it would be a step up from the pure gruel that is the first episode. All that the first episode of Medaka Box has going for it is the outrageously oversized pair of breasts on Medaka’s chest. As I would learn throughout a night of anime-watching, cleavage appears to be the dominant theme so far in the young season.

Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
I won’t blog this anime and I won’t waste too many words on it either. Obviously, Lupin III has old roots and thus old appeal. Why change what has been an old favorite for so long? Why change what has worked for so many for so long? Certainly, you wouldn’t do it to please the sensitive PC jerks like me. Plus, the animation and art direction are both slick as all hell; I’d almost watch the series just for the aesthetics alone.

But I won’t. Why? I’ll let another spy story sum my reasons up for me:

M: You don’t like me, Bond. You don’t like my methods. You think I’m an accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your instincts.
James Bond: The thought had occurred to me.
M: Good, because I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.
James Bond: Point taken.

Sengoku Collection
You know the drill: a mysterious (often anachronistic) babe falls from the sky and lands before your feet. She claims to be a goddess Oda Nobunaga and knows nothing about the modern world. As a result, you get to treat her as if she’s retarded. Duh, this is a hamburger. And this is a microwave. Sweet, all the fun of patronizing a young woman without any of the guilt!

*boing boing*

Thrice today, I got to see a woman in a state of undress flummox the opposite sex into a quivering mass of tears and sweat (see: the three of the four screen caps above). It used to be that a young man couldn’t resist peeping. The girl would then blush, scream and throw things at her transgressor in a fit of embarrassment. Nowadays, the girls no longer care, but the guys have suddenly become puritans. Oh, the leaps and bounds we’ve made in gender role depictions!

As for Sengoku Collection‘s plot, er… Oda’ll want to go back to her original time period, the generic anime shounen will try to help her, then she’ll realizes that (dokidoki) she really wants to stay with him and all the friends she’s made. Yeah, I bet that’s going to be how the story unfolds. If that sounds like a retread of a familiar story, that’s because it is. We’ve only stuck big boobs on Oda as per the requirement of the season; truly, a riveting nuclear arms race. And with that, I’m all anime’d out for the night.

Oh, one final thought: I guess that panda anime was kind of cute.


25 thoughts on “When in doubt, just add boobs

    1. My fiancée wants me to. I want seven shows to blog for each day of the week. So, uh, we’ll see. I’m still trying to find my No.6 of the season, if you know what I mean. Yeah, I ended up disliking No.6, but it generated lots of discussion during its run. I’ve yet to find that show this season. I like Space Brothers, but it’s more on par with Usagi Drop in terms of what you can get out of it blogging-wise.

        1. Apollon‘s synopsis makes it look like another boring slice-of-life show about high schoolers. I don’t know anything about the other two.

  1. The reason Medaka Box is so boring at first is because it started out as a slice-of-life comedy/romance when it serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump. When it started to lose favor in popularity polls, the writer/author team was forced to take drastic measures to shift the genre to be more combat-oriented.

    If the anime ever gets far enough into the manga, you’ll see that Medaka is supposed to embody what people want in an ideal heroine: the hot-blooded shounen main character. She will always get what she wants, win the fights she needs to win, and be accepted by the people who hate her most; privileges only accessible to a main character if and only if they have the willpower. She’s really no different from other protagonists in the same Jump magazine, and the series constantly makes references to such kinds of tropes to fuel every character’s motivations. Plus Nisio Isin’s writing style was quirky and fresh to Shounen Jump so people will flock to it to feel darker and edgier and all that fun stuff.

    It’s interesting to say the least, but you may argue that no matter how meta Medaka Box may be, it is still at its core just like the rest of its kind. Good always triumphs over evil and evil always loses, all amidst very pretty and stylistic design choices of how they go about fulfilling this goal.

    1. It’s funny–if the early parts of the manga were bad enough to lose favor with its readers, why does Gainax still feel obligated to adapt it? Why not just tweak things enough to jump straight to the juicy bits of the plot? This is their prerogative and their right; they should be able to adapt the anime as they see fit. Instead, they created a bland episode that, in my opinion, does them no favors. It’s not as if we had a cast of characters with complicated backstories that all need extensive infodumping a la Fate/Zero. I think I’ve written about this before on the blog, but fidelity to the source material is just so silly.

      1. I suppose it’s too much work to come up with a new way to introduce the characters who also end up joining the Student Council before the genre shift happened. It’s too bad really; the shift was when I really started enjoying Medaka Box (I’m not saying that you will too) and it got my full attention once a certain antagonist showed up, but I’m not even sure if the anime will reach that point before it finishes.

        1. Ah well, we’ll see. I’ll watch anything until (1) it’s too boring for me to continue or (2) it just flat out offends my sensibilities. Ridiculous boob physics aside, Medaka Box hasn’t offended the two conditions above yet, but the first episode flirted with the former. There are enough student council helps the world clones out there to bother with and plenty of them try to be meta too.

  2. Don’t lose hope for the season just yet. I’m personally looking forward to Sakamichi no Apollon and Tsuritama quite a bit.

    1. The one anime chart I’ve been linked to doesn’t even tell me what Tsuritama will look like or who it’s by.

      1. Ah, sorry about that chart. The series is directed by Kenji Nakamura (Mononoke, Kuchuu Buranko) and is about 4 high school boys meeting each other on an island. Apparently there’s some stuff about them being involved with the fate of the world and such, but really there’s not much known about the anime right now. I personally am intrigued, though.

        1. Mononoke was cool for the most part. I wouldn’t say the same about Kuchuu Buranko. Would you say there’s a lot of hype for Tsuritama out there? What are other anime fans looking forward to anyway? I’m afraid my “rawr most anime sucks” attitude does have the side effect of leaving me oblivious to how the rest of the anime fandom thinks and operates.

        2. Eureka Seven Ao, the second half of Fate/Zero, and Hyouka (because KyoAnifags, even if I’m one of them) are going to take up a lot of attention around my group of friends.

          But if you want a real answer, I’d say Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka, Sankarea, Saki, and other anime of that sort. You probably don’t want to know what the fandom thinks.

          1. I’ve been liking Bones lately. It’s too bad I’m not into sequels, but maybe the new Eureka Seven will prove me wrong.

      2. Also, Appolon will remind you of Chihayafuru except it’s way less sweet or melodramatic. There’s still common tropes associated with josei/shoujo, such as gossip and BISHIES, but what I’ve read from the manga so far has been pretty good. I’d say it’s more like Nodame Cantabile without so much musical emphasis if you’ve ever watched that.

        1. And my only problem with Chihayafuru was just how melodramatic it was. As for the comparison to Nodame Cantabile, it’ll have to depend. I thought the anime was kinda dry and preferred the energy and humor in the live drama version. Then again, it could just be that I saw the latter first so I’m biased.

  3. Medaka Box was equivalent to shaving my head against smoldering concrete for 23 minutes. There was nothing that was remotely redeemable, though the promise of “It gets better (I swear!)” is somewhat believable… I mean can it really get worse from here?. But yeah, you pretty much summed up my feelings on it way quicker than I could’ve.

    As for the others, Sengoku Collection’s off to a decent start and Lupin’s… well, Lupin.

    1. If by copying every other “stranger in a strangeland” gives Sengoku Collection a decent start, then sure. ;v

      1. Fair enough. It is a series of posts, though, and the 2nd and 3rd posts go into more depth on the matter, so it might be worth reading those if you didn’t. It sounds to me like they have at least made an effort to change from the original Lupin III, but I’m sure whether or not this this fixes some of the issues you have with it is highly debateable.

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