Fall Rankings Week 7: Around the halfway mark

I should do these posts more often. If only there weren’t so many shows to cover. Hell, I’m still missing a few, but there’s only so much I can watch. As always, I rank these shows by how much I’m looking forward to them week-by-week. In other words, this list is not meant to be an accurate reflection of how I would rate these shows’ quality, which is something I’d never be interested in doing anyway.

18. Little Busters (Prev: 16)

• There are people who find this week’s opening funny. This fact of reality makes me sad.

• What on earth:

Can the anime be about Mr. Tinyhead instead?

• First, they gave us Ayu, but we said nothing. Then they gave us Fuko, but still, we stayed silent. Now, there’s a character so dumb, she plays “Guess Who?” by covering up her own eyes.

Is it possible to create a dumber female character? Actually, scratch that… I don’t want to know.

• Oh look, A military tactic!

Yup, no doubt in my mind that these kids are former Navy Seals.

• Fuck it, I’ll just read the plot summary for the rest of this episode on Wikipedia.

• That’s right, I’m putting this show below the harem anime with incest.

17. Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne! (Prev: 17)

• A twelve year old girl shows up and everyone proceeds to creep or hate on her except for, of course, our pure pure boi hero. Oh yeah, she’s supposed to be his fiancee or something. Basically, would you rather be a pedophile or a sister-fucker? Oh, how anime poses such fascinating ethical dilemmas to rack one’s brain over.

16. K (Prev: 15)

• Sigh, look at that character design:

It’s like something out of a teenager’s imagination.

• Someone asked me what I now think of K. To be honest, I don’t think anything of it. There’s no reason for me to care. JoJo‘s all about stopping a great evil. SAO‘s execution sucks, but it’s at least about a guy on a journey to save the love of his life. Shinsekai Yori paints a (sometimes) compelling picture of dystopian society. PSYCHO-PASS paints another picture of the same idea. Why, you ask, am I rattling off premises left and right? Because I can’t do the same for K. Uh, Shiro is accused of murdering someone from a clan, so a bunch of people are after him. He initially thinks he’s innocent, but now he has doubts? And Kuro is supposed to kill Shiro if he’s determined to be evil, because Shiro is next in line to become the Colorless King? Okay, well, who gives a fuck?

15. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Prev: 12)

• There’s that bullshit purity thing again:

• Lessee, what did I write nearly two months ago? Ah, that’s right:

I would probably have to see why Rikka prefers to play in her fantasy world as opposed to acting like a typical teenager, but I’m bracing myself for a potentially corny backstory full of tears and angst.

And a corny backstory full of tears and angst is exactly what I got. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough pathos in this episode to balance out the fanservice.

14. Space Brothers (Prev: unranked)

• Holy shit, look at Mutta’s shadow:

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything else to say about the episode. This show has a premise that I should be interested in, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Every episode is jammed pack with sentimental flashbacks and hopeful violins. It’s enough to put me into a coma.

13. CODE:BREAKER (Prev: 11)

• So much for murderous heroes and conspiracies involving Diet members. We now have a wacky anime that includes a guy who can transform into a chibi version of himself and a cat-loving weirdo who runs around on all fours. Nyan~

• Wow, cat dude fights by screaming sonic energy at his opponents. That is… super lame.

• This show so obviously wants to be a reverse harem, yet it insists on masquerading as a shounen. Unfortunately, it does neither well. The “pretty boys” are actually butt ugly, and none of them have any charm whatsoever. Meanwhile, the action is about as exciting as watching Pokemons do battle. If you’re truly a reverse harem, don’t be ashamed of who you are! There are so many harems and quasi-harems out there, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if another reverse harem shows up to the party. Be true to yourself and come out of the closet!

• Our awesome Mary Sue heroine saves the day by inexplicably blocking a super powerful attack just because she’s special. Kewl.

• The Prime Minister has just been kidnapped! Are you a bad enough dude to save him?!

12. Sukitte Ii na yo. (Prev: 10)

• The leading couple would make the dumbest babies ever.

11. Zetsuen no Tempest (Prev: 9)

• Welp, this show can’t get any worse, right?

10. BTOOOM! (Prev: 7)

• What’s that four letter word that starts with an “R”?!

9. Robotics;Notes (Prev: 14)

• Ooh, we have a bit of a murder mystery developing. The scenes involving Kaito and his investigation are passably interesting. Everything else continues to be as boring as all hell though.

• Yes dad, I’ll totally quit building robots so I can haul fish instead… said no kid ever.

• Y’know, if Subaru was merely collecting robotic figurines and jerking off onto them, I could understand his father’s extreme reaction. Subaru’s helping to design a fighting robot with an advanced AI though. As dorky as I still think that sounds, it’s also incredibly impressive at the same time!

• Yo Subaru’s dad, you do realize that there’s more of a future in robotics (and potentially engineering) than fishing, right?

8. Sword Art Online (Prev: 5)

• How many more side quests can Kirito undertake at this point?

7. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (Prev: 2)

• Things are starting to get kind of repetitive.

6. Ixion Saga DT (Prev: 4)

• It’s the hot springs episode! But with a twist… y’see, the hot springs will increase a person’s libido to the point that, uh, our poor Kon finds himself with a raging hard-on for no reason whatsoever. He’s initially unaware of this crucial fact though, so he naturally concludes that he’s being turned on by Sainglain.

His reaction seems a little hyperbolic to me. It’s fine to be a heterosexual and everything, but is it really that much more preferable to be turned on by a rock or a bucket than another human being?

• If you want to watch an anime where the villain screams at his dick to get hard, this is the episode for you.

• Kind of a lame episode though.

5. Kamisama Kiss (Prev: 8)

• This show wins the dubious honor of just being alright.

4. Shinsekai Yori (Prev: 6)

• Apparently, people are raging over this week’s episode? You’d think breast-groping yuri (second base) would more than make up for tongue-wrestling yaoi (first base), but from what I’ve been hearing, I guess not.

3. Magi (Prev: 13)

• Sin’s been robbed clean, but they didn’t take his earrings? How thoughtful of the bandits…

• Oh, I should’ve guess that Sin was short for Sinbad. Heh, I remember when the only Sinbad I knew was the bad comedian from the 90’s.

• I’m not sure why Aladdin is all “I’m sure it’s not our Alibaba.” Why not? The Fog Troupe sound pretty awesome on paper to me. Sinbad offers a rather cynical take on our chivalrous thieves: “But I think the thieves may only [distribute the money they steal to the people] to make their crimes seem justifiable.” C’mon, when you have fat merchants living in extravagant homes and starving people in the streets, who are the real thieves here? But that’s the problem with trying to espouse a radical message in a visual medium from an ostensibly conservative country.

The characters know that the people need help more than the money-grubbing upper class: “If you don’t feel that [the rich] deserve [your money], then you should take it back.” Uh, that’s exactly what the Fog Troupe is trying to do? Sinbad goes on to say, “But you shouldn’t take lives,” but that’s hilariously naive. You think the rich would just be willing to tax the poor less without putting up a fight? Meanwhile, a woman is so malnourished, she can’t even produce breast milk to feed her emaciated baby. We have the same problem here as we did in The Dark Knight Rises, where the stupidity, you could argue, was even more rampant.

• Still, Magi is currently more interesting than I ever thought it would be.

2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures (Prev: 3)

• Nearly wins by default…

1. PSYCHO-PASS (Prev: 1)

• …what more can I say?

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28 thoughts on “Fall Rankings Week 7: Around the halfway mark”

  1. Damn you missed a SUBTLE plot foreshadowing in LB with the “covering he own eyes” thing. Well the more I think about LB anime adaptation, the more it is obvious than the anime has been made to satisfy existing fandom with a lot of (now animated) private jokes than to draw in those who never read the VN.

    1. Damn you missed a SUBTLE plot foreshadowing in LB with the “covering he own eyes” thing.

      Man, who makes a character colossally dumb just to foreshadow?

  2. Hmm…
    Your opinion on K feels like you haven’t watched up until the latest episode. The stupidity continues! At that point of the story, it’s already obvious that Shiro is really the killer. However, Kuro risked his life to let his escape! He should just let him arrested by the ‘police’ already. There are a lot of ‘guy blushing against guy’ scenes too. Also, are we supposed to cry for the killed musician guy who only appears for only one episode? Oh, This is fujoshi bait show, written by people who are drunk while working on the script.

    1. “At that point of the story, it’s already obvious that Shiro is really the killer”
      Not it’s not. In the anime there are people who can magic left or right, so who can say for certain that was Shiro and not an illusion, or mind control? besides the story isn’t about finding out if killed or not but why,what for, how come he’s so different now and what will happen after this.

      1. Yes, there’s that possibility. But who made the illusion? Who’s the one who framed Shiro? What does he gain from that? I don’t see such character. It’s more logical to think he’s really the killer. In order to trick everybody, he brainwashed himself as innocent high school boy.

    2. At that point of the story, it’s already obvious that Shiro is really the killer.

      I doubt he’s the killer, and even if he is, I’m sure it’ll somehow turn out that he’s innocent because he had to kill the guy or something.

  3. Magi: watching this is hilarious if your whole childhood is based on Disney movies. Jafar is white haired, freckled bishounen, a good guy and is helping Sinbad? Lmao.

    K: hum, funny how I normally agree with your opinions (bless your posts on SAO) but not in this. I like how K is about figuring out as we go along and unlike the other shows it doesn’t have a simple premise. It’s not about our ‘hero’ proving his innocense but our main characacter finding out if he is innocent first and we the viewers figuring it out along with him. Obviously if all the anime did this “not telling the audience the plot” it would be tiring, but with just one show like this it feels refreshing and fun to me. So what happens now? What will the main characters do, what will be their goals, how can this be resolved and what about all those questions left hanging? I don’t know the answer to any of that and that’s the fun: figuring it out. Creating convoluted theories and then cheering or groaning as the anime slowly destroyes or strengthens them. Ah well, in the end it depends on taste.

    1. I like how K is about figuring out as we go along and unlike the other shows it doesn’t have a simple premise.

      I need a reason to care. I need a reason to root for one side or the other. It’s not about having a simple premise. It’s about having a premise that I can emotionally relate to. For me, stories boil down to whether or not I’m able to emotionally connect with the characters and empathize with their situation. I don’t sense that level of pathos here. Why should I care if Shiro’s innocent or not? That’s a cool hook, i.e. something to open the story with, but after seven episodes, I need more than a hook. You can be as complicated as Finnegan’s Wake if you want, but at the end of the day, I need to feel an emotion beyond “Huh, what’s going on?”

  4. I think K would be a whole lot better if not for that terrible 2nd episode and its awful, exploitative character designs for females. Above all I think it needs to do a better job in connecting the dots to present a more coherent picture of what the whole damn show is actually about. I’d still rank it over shows like Sukitte Ii na yo because being incoherent is still better than being plain fucking stupid.

    Despite all K’s shitty aspects I actually look forward to watching it every week; mostly for the art. Its animation is almost always top-notch and I appreciate that it doesn’t adopt a character design that makes everyone from 10 to 30 look like moe 13-year-olds. And the soundtrack is awesome. Yep, all purely superficial reasons…

    And just wondering, what are people actually raging about over Shinsekai Yori, may I ask? Were the sudden yaoi/yuri scenes too shocking for homophobes or something?

    1. I’d still rank it over shows like Sukitte Ii na yo because being incoherent is still better than being plain fucking stupid.

      Well, personally, I also find K a lot more boring.

      Its animation is almost always top-notch

      The fights are well animated, and when the show does close-ups, the characters do look above-average. Where I disagree is when the POV pulls back and we see the characters’ bodies. I think they look weird and sloppy.

      Were the sudden yaoi/yuri scenes too shocking for homophobes or something?

      That’s the gist of it.

    2. “And just wondering, what are people actually raging about over Shinsekai Yori, may I ask? Were the sudden yaoi/yuri scenes too shocking for homophobes or something?”

      They can’t appreciate a fantastic anime because they have to be dumb scumbags and call gay everything homosexual they see. Trying to act all witty and awesome with: This is yaoi? Dropped

  5. K: I still have no idea why they designed all the female characters so… strangely. I admit, I have no idea what’s going and it doesn’t help that some of the characters look similar to another depending on the scene/colors. I had expected something like a shorter Drrr! many characters with overreaching plot line, but now I have idea even after watching all the released episodes. The scenery and animation was nice though.

    Chuunibyou: I thought it’d be a comedy anime, but now it’s just depressing orz.. Still I’m going to keep watching because wellll, I did find some scenes to be entertaining.

    Space Bros: I followed this show for around 25 episodes and I thought it’d end soon, but then I lost interest. Started out inspiring and now it’s been on Hold for the past few weeks and now dropped zzz.

    CB:
    >If you’re truly a reverse harem, don’t be ashamed of who you are! There are so many harems and quasi-harems out there, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if another reverse harem shows up to the party. Be true to yourself and come out of the closet!

    This almost makes me watch to watch CB again… almost. I dropped it after the 2nd episodes since I was getting DN vibes from the MC. Too bad, it hasn’t improved since then. It had some nice animation <_<

    Magi: Yay for Alibaba again. I liked that Mor was able to meet up with Aladdin and help out during the fights. Does it really surprise Sin that the poor people in his country are suffering under the rule of the rich? And I thought the woman was carrying around a dead baby orz.

    1. Robotics;Notes: Also, I thought his father would be annoyed that his son wasn’t studying or something, but really becoming a fisherman? Since when did that ever sound like a good job. I thought the future would be cooler. And who punches their son in front of his friends?

      I feel ambivalent towards Frau and her netspeak, although guys with glasses are moe x)

      1. Yeah, that scene really make me facepalmed. Fisherman –> collecting raw materials from the nature –> the type of job that requires the least intelligence. (All fishermen out there, I am sorry!).
        But it’s really unreal. I think it will make more sense if he wished his son to get into Tokyo University or something, but instead he wanted him to follow his footstep? Bleh! Bleh!

    2. I still have no idea why they designed all the female characters so… strangely.

      I think we both know why. There aren’t that many reasons to make a woman’s breasts bigger than her own head!

      This almost makes me watch to watch CB again… almost.

      Yeah, you shouldn’t. I’m just covering it just for the hell of it. After all, what’s the point of ranking these shows if I only cover a handful?

      And I thought the woman was carrying around a dead baby orz.

      I don’t see any reason to think she’s insane or anything.

  6. “Is it possible to create a dumber female character? Actually, scratch that… I don’t want to know.”

    I’m currently watching Tenshi ni Narumon!, which features a female character who doesn’t know what it means to care for someone, and frequently asks what things like cars and vegetables are… as in, “what’s a car?”. But the rest of the cast is pretty fucking idiotic as well, so… uh… equal opportunity!(?)

    At least Fuko and Ayu had the excuse of having endured massive head trauma and being comatose.

    1. At least Fuko and Ayu had the excuse of having endured massive head trauma and being comatose.

      At some point though, the excuse itself becomes a problem. I mean, why do they always have to have some sort of accident or injury that coincidentally makes them incredibly dumb and/or immature?

  7. I really wonder if there are any good academic essays on anime written from a feminist perspective out there. I would love to find them myself, but I no longer have any access to free academic journals online due to the fact that I finished college years ago and can no longer log in to places like EbscoHost or JSTOR.

    I’m sure there are, but anime itself seems like an understudied topic from a social sciences standpoint.

    I want to know in particular the ways in which capitalism (in its modern-day corporate neoliberalized form) and patriarchy intersect when it comes to affecting Japanese anime.

    Full disclosure: I’m a heterosexual, cis male. I personally have my own fantasies of idealized women that come “like something out of a teenager’s imagination.” I just don’t like seeing these women (or any other person, for that matter) dehumanized and degraded the way characters like Himiko are.

    1. I’m not sure about academic essays from a feminist perspective per say, but academic analyses of anime do in fact exist, although the field is young and still small. If you’re interested, try getting into contact with someone like Ada Palmer (http://adapalmer.com/manga/research.html) – I’ve corresponded with her before, and she knows some researchers in the field and would probably be able to direct you to better resources. Totally agree though – I feel that anime is definitely understudied (formally) and overlooked, and that most analyses currently reside on the blogosphere.
      As for non-academic stuff, although she’s not so active anymore, http://www.afeministotaku.com/ might be what you’re looking for. I think E-minor here also does quite a good job at pointing out female portrayals in this respect.
      As for capitalism intersecting with anime, I think Azuma’s “Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals” might have some of what your looking for, since he tries to analyze changes in the medium from a postmodernist, partially consumerist perspective. The book is a getting a tad outdated though. A good summary can be found at http://dragorol.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/notes-on-azumas-otaku-database-animals-1-the-otakus-psuedo-japan/ as well, if like me you find the academic language somewhat tough to get through.
      Hopefully this helps!

      1. I think E-minor here also does quite a good job at pointing out female portrayals in this respect.

        Haha, I’m flattered, but I wouldn’t compare myself to a feminist. Don’t get me wrong though; it’s not because I don’t respect the feminist cause or anything, but what I’m doing is not feminism. Somewhere out there, real work is being done to fight serious issues like sex trafficking. I’m just bitching about the sexist objectification of cartoon characters.

        1. Whoops – I thought he was referencing portrayals of females in anime, and I didn’t mean to make that direct comparison. Thanks for the clarification.

    2. Well, I don’t know if it’s specifically feminist, but I’ve enjoyed some of Susan Napier’s writings on anime. You might have already heard of her, but if you haven’t, the material she covers isn’t exactly current if that’s what you’re also aiming for. Prepare to read analysis on some 80s and early 90s anime. In general, anime’s been around for a while, but I’d say it hasn’t really gone global until relatively recently, and even then, I’m using the word ‘global’ rather loosely. It’s still a rather niche interest in the grand scheme of things. Maybe there are a lot of academic work on anime in Japan, but I personally wouldn’t know. As far as the Western world is concerned, however, I’d posit that there just aren’t enough people going into something like Asian studies to begin with, much less specialize even further into a topic like anime. Plus, for people my age, we’re either still in graduate school, or just about to finish it up. If there are any essays out there, it’s probably lost amid a sea of academia.

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