First Impressions: Love Live! & Amnesia

wholesome entertainment

I don’t know what to watch or if there’s even anything worth watching. I haven’t seen a single PV or even so much as read more than a couple synopses. As a result, I’m really going into these shows blind. So I’m just going to do a couple “first impressions” a day until (hopefully) I find something I’d be interested in blogging weekly. Alright then, first up is…

Love Live!

love live

• Well, doesn’t that look super already? But hey, you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’ll stick it out for at least an episode.

• I don’t “get” idols. I mean, it seems to violate that very simple rule of “Less is more.” The stage is overly designed and tacky, there are way too many singers, too many dancers, too many girls and personalities to keep track of, the song is one monotonous and homogenized mess, etc. And with these many girls in one group, how can one help not reducing these girls down to a set of impersonal descriptors like a girl’s birthday or her blood type just to keep heads or tails of them all? Those are things people parrot to claim they know someone, but you don’t really know someone just because you memorized a bunch of facts on a cue card, y’know?

• But anyway, I guess the premise of the show is that some girl’s fancy high school will shut down and this will severely impact her chances of having a “shining high school life.” But I can’t really complain about this too much. After all, I’ve been tainted by the ironic cynicism of Western culture. I mean, if you’ve ever seen Western shows about high school, gone are the saccharine days of Saved By the Bell. High school shows are typically about the social outcasts — the Freaks and Geeks. It’s all about how high school can be such a cruel place, but don’t get me wrong… friends will still pull together to make those years oh-so-special!

love live 0102

On the other hand, there are exceptions, but in general, it feels as though anime takes a very cheerful, wide-eyed look at high school as, well, the most glorious thing that will ever be. And while not every anime out there extols the virtues of high school, very few seem to criticize anything about it other than the fact that, well, sometimes there are jerks… usually street punks who never attend class and have darker skin than the rest of us goody two-shoes. Oh, I’m sure there are manga series out there to address exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s just the case that they rarely get adapted by the studios.

• Oh no: “The current first-years will never have a class below them.”

• Is the school really gonna disappear? The student council replies, “It’s none of your concern.” Oh this one dimensional writing! Why have I been subjected to this?!

• In these shows, the girl with orange-ish hair is always a ditz and the girl with long, black hair is always the serious one who tries to keep her friends in line. I mean, what makes the orange-haired girl any different from her ditzy predecessors other than the placement of the yellow ribbon?

• UTX High School sounds like some kind of form-compliant motherboard.

love live 0101

• School idols are apparently the key to saving the high school. Why is this show about a girl-only school though? C’mon, let’s be honest. If anything, school idols would attract mostly guys, and not necessarily under-18 guys either. That’s definitely the attention you want surrounding a girls-only high school. But hey, what can I say? Again, I come from a culture where we live vicariously through our football athletes, and if you suck, 40-year-old men are gonna let you hear about it on the Internet. YOU SUCK TE’O, LEARN TO TACKLE!

• It’s almost as if the show is devoid of the male sex to keep the idea of school idols pure and innocent. And some blowhard will chime in and go “Hurr, it’s an anime, it’s like you’ve never even seen an anime before!” But yeah, I don’t think this show merits another viewing. Oh, typical high school plot: “Our awesome club won’t be approved! Will the story end before it even begins?!” Student government is the most powerful force in anime. Alright, onto our next show…

Amnesia

amnesia

• I see that our heroine is from the Ministry of Silly Hats.

• All the boys are aces. Aces in the hole. What hole? This is dirty now.

• Burning house. The clear night sky. Now I’m drowning. Hand reaching up. No one to save me.

amnesia 0106

This anime is like a poem. A shitty poem.

• Anime bishies love chokers. Every bishie wants to look like he just walked out of a bondage shop.

• Amnesia is generally a pretty lazy story device. I’m not saying that this anime is automatically bad or anything — that remains to be seen. It’s just that amnesia is so often used as a way to withhold information so that certain developments seem more impactful than they really should be.

• So far, the premise seems to be about an amnesiac with crazy eyes — and her hot male friends all have crazy eyes as well — who is the only person who can talk to and see some weird, navel-bearing anime boy spirit. The spirit has crazy eyes too. And he kinda looks like a bee if you squint your eyes. Yeah, not exactly a rocking premise so far.

• It ain’t just you:

amnesia 0101

• She can’t go to the hospital or seek professional help. In fact, our heroine will even forget how to breathe if she goes to the hospital. Yep, this show takes the phrase “remembering to breathe” quite literally. No no no no, the only way to cure this case of amnesia is to hang out with… friends… so like every other day in one’s life.

• I-it’s like I have amnesia or something:

amnesia 0102

• Our heroine works at some hoity-toity cafe that doesn’t just have meidos, but butlers too. Hot butlers. Hot butlers with crazy eyes and chokers. So of course, all the female patrons are super envious (clearly evident by their lack of crazy eyes) of our heroine and her slave wage, because c’mon, she gets to work with hot bishies. Bitches be hella jealous. So emotional and jealous. But fear not, dear viewer ’cause we all know you’re not like those girls. You’re different. You’re special. Like our heroine. Now go pen me a fanfiction novel about how these hot bishies are really more into each other than the heroine herself. Unless the girl’s you. It’s you, isn’t it?

• Uguu, she’s so lucky:

amnesia 0103

• That’s hot:

amnesia 0104

I mean, as long as it’s a hot guy, of course. If it had been a fat, balding manager straddling you, then it’s obviously sexual harassment. There’s a fine (hair)line between the two scenarios that you must delicately tiptoe around.

• Holy moly, look at this guy’s outfit:

amnesia 0105

“Shut up, ma! I’m getting ready for work!… ugh, you made me lose my place. Now I gotta redo all my belts!” Killer checkerboard leggings underneath that coat too.

• He wears glasses, so of course he’ll reference a physicist in everyday conversation.

• By the way, I’m not sure if our heroine has made a single decision on her own yet, but I’m sure the amnesia is to blame. Good thing all these cute guys are here to help her.

• So anyway, that was pretty barftastic. I may watch a couple more episodes though just for comedic value, but I honestly can’t see this show being any good.

• I was going to do more shows, but… after watching a few minutes each of Zettai Karen Children THE UNLIMITED and Senran Kagura, I decided I needed a break. We’ll do this again tomorrow (hopefully).

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47 thoughts on “First Impressions: Love Live! & Amnesia”

  1. After watching half a dozen new series that were all “okay” at best, I had to stop watching Love Live halfway through. It’s so damn dull and mediocre, it was actually kind of painful to watch.

    1. I don’t know about auto-tuning since I can’t hear it from ear.

      But I will say that I consider Yoshino Nanjo (voice of Eli Ayase) to be a better vocalist for fripSide then a solo singer in Love Live.

  2. Did you get the Whine-Subs version of The Unlimited? It’s much better with the alternative joke script, even if it’s dumb humor. It doesn’t change the fact that the anime isn’t good, though.

  3. What do you have against hats?

    Also, best part of Love Live was in the ED where the main character takes off. drops all her shit, and dances in the middle of traffic. Worst part was when she didn’t get hit. Also laughed at that untz untz song in the middle of the episode because it was essentially the distilled form of every ’90s electro pop song.

    1. Also, best part of Love Live was in the ED where the main character takes off. drops all her shit, and dances in the middle of traffic.

      Aw, I missed it.

      1. You didn’t watch until the end? That ending totally redeemed the steaming pile of shit that was the rest of the episode.

        1. You should go back and watch this one. Also, you should make it a habit to watch the ED at least once. You never know what’s in them.

  4. Love Live and Amnesia: One is a male fantasy, the other is a female fantasy.

    Well, I should be fair to the (correct) idea of gender pluralism. For example, Love Live is a fantasy for hyperpatriarchal cisgender males who view women through a madonna-whore dichotomy lense. Not that I blame them. The men who believe in this idea have been socially conditioned to fantasize about these ideas.

    These two shows are cases in point where hideous conceptions of gender relations is shoved down our throats. Corporate executives will only fund works (like Love Live and Amnesia) that they think will have wide appeal. Their misanthropic and condescending view of what they think people want reinforces a culture where such views are acceptable.

    Here’s how the process of self-fulfilling prophecy goes. Keep in mind that there isn’t necessarily a starting point, because this process is cyclical:
    . Corporate anime exec believes customers are stupid and can’t handle complex and difficult themes
    . Said exec will not fund the anime equivalents of Dostoevsky or Woolf, because they think it won’t sell.
    . On the other hand, shows like Amnesia and Love Live (which are different variations of wish-fulfillment) get funded.
    . Audiences watch these shows and become conditioned to internalizing the horrible ideas they contain (not all people are affected, but a significant enough number to give companies profits).
    . As a result, audiences become less receptive to complex works.
    . Self-fulfilling prophecy cycle occurs and repeats again and again, lowering cultural standards in the process.

    This might surprise you, but I actually like shows like To Love Ru Darkness. Not for the bullshit conceptions of social and gender relations, but for the cute and pretty girls. The radical feminist in me may cringe at how unrealistic, how heteronormative and how one-dimensional the characters are in shows like that, but I like to pass the time watching eye candy. I love me some aesthetic pleasure.

    Anyway, welcome back. Glad to see you blogging again. It’s been, what, nearly three weeks since your last post, which was on Sword Art Online?

    Seeing as how there won’t be that many good shows this Winter 2013 season, I think that this season would be a great opportunity to blog older shows. Since you’ve played Saya No Uta and are currently watching/blogging Psycho-Pass, why don’t you blog Fate/Zero or Madoka? I mention these works together because they are all Gen Urobuchi works. And Urobuchi works seem to stimulate a lot of insightful writing from you.

    1. Corporate executives will only fund works (like Love Live and Amnesia) that they think will have wide appeal. Their misanthropic and condescending view of what they think people want reinforces a culture where such views are acceptable.

      Well, viewers are hardly innocent. It takes two to tango, and people are eating this shit up. I very much understand the argument that we’ve been conditioned to some level of manufactured standard of beauty and desirability, but perhaps I ascribe too much to our free will. I think people can easily choose not to consume such empty shows like Love Live.

      Said exec will not fund the anime equivalents of Dostoevsky or Woolf, because they think it won’t sell.

      Most anime series don’t appear out of the thin air though. They are adaptations of manga or light novels. People are writing and drawing stuff that they want to read and consume. The market merely follows suit. Are there Dostoyevsky-level works floating out there in the manga world? Perhaps, but trust me, if it really had a huge following, it would’ve been adapted too. Money talks. It’s just that there’s no money here. Of course, it’d be nice if a studio said, “Screw the risks. Let’s adapt works of art regardless of how well they do.” But eventually, that well is going to dry if the audience is unwilling to support such ventures. We are as much to blame.

      This might surprise you, but I actually like shows like To Love Ru Darkness.

      Shrug.

      Since you’ve played Saya No Uta and are currently watching/blogging Psycho-Pass, why don’t you blog Fate/Zero or Madoka?

      I’ve watched Madoka. The thought of writing about it makes me cringe.

    2. “Well, I should be fair to the (correct) idea of gender pluralism. For example, Love Live is a fantasy for hyperpatriarchal cisgender males who view women through a madonna-whore dichotomy lense”
      Nice joke post.

  5. Where have you been E Minor? Taking vacation over the long holiday? Lucky~

    I don’t get Japan’s obsession over idols too. Their songs are generic. Too generic! There are too many people on the stage. They wear slutty clothes and wink on their audience. They make handshake event. They are whores…

    While Amnesia is just another fujoshi pandering show. This kind of show is one of the lowest. Most of the time, the heroines are super dumb and can’t do anything by their own. The guys have uncombed hair and wear silly clothes. They expect me to go “Kyaaaa” over them?

    This new season sucks. Sucks big time. Go ahead and try every new show. So far, none of them impress me. Such a horrible season. I dropped many of them in half episode, too. You have to watch “Inferno Cop”. Scamp rated it 10/10. He must have eaten bad food or drugs during the time. Also the other MAL reviewers.

    Now, let tomorrow comes quicly so that I can see another scene of Nude Shinya and Moe Akane.

      1. Huh? Of course this kind of show needs a blank slate protagonist. For self-insert, that is. if it’s all bishounen, it will be Y-A-O-I.

        1. Fujoshi are women who like Y-A-O-I. O-T-O-M-E games, like the one Amnesia is based on, are targeted at women in general. Get your terms right before you act condescending.

        2. Dude… it’s just a matter of term. I don’t understand why you pick a fight with me, when I am commenting towards E Minor to begin with.
          While it’s generally believed that “fujoshi” means “Japanese women who like yaoi”, Wikipedia also states something like “According to a 2005 issue of Eureka, in recent times fujoshi can refer to female otaku in general, although it cautions that not all yaoi fans are otaku, as there are some more casual readers. As fujoshi is the best-known term, it is often used by the Japanese media and by people outside of the otaku subculture to refer to female otaku as a group, regardless of whether they are fans of BL. This usage may be considered offensive by female otaku who are not fans of BL.”
          And as someone who’s not familiar with otaku culture, unlike you, I have mistaken that fujoshi means female otaku.

    1. Where have you been E Minor? Taking vacation over the long holiday? Lucky~

      My vacation was playing League of Legends everyday. Still jelly?

      They wear slutty clothes and wink on their audience. They make handshake event. They are whores…

      Wait, what?

      You have to watch “Inferno Cop”. Scamp rated it 10/10.

      Isn’t it a short? I don’t watch shorts.

      1. I am talking about real life idols, at Japan. :-)
        Especially that AKB0048.
        How could somebody enjoy idols anime knowing how whorish they are in reality?
        The anime is a lie.

        1. I don’t follow idols or anything, but from the little that I’ve seen of them, they never seemed whorish to me. Just sickeningly cutesy wutesy.

        2. AKB48 are not whores in any way shape or form. if anything, gravure idols and av idols seem to have a lot of more respect than western people will ever do.

          actually, come to think of it, the only ones who actively have sex in the idol industry are ebisu but then they are adult video idols as well. funny, that.

        3. Japanse idols do not really get that much respect. I have seen stories of girls getting fired because they dared to have a boyfriend. To me it seems that the character that they portray get respected not the actual person.

  6. “And with these many girls in one group, how can one help not reducing these girls down to a set of impersonal descriptors like a girl’s birthday or her blood type just to keep heads or tails of them all?”

    One doesn’t. One drools over all of them and imagines them to be one’s harem, because one is not predisposed to see women as personalities in the first place.

    “It’s almost as if the show is devoid of the male sex to keep the idea of school idols pure and innocent.”

    More like to keep the guys watching the show from seeing any competition. That way the girls all belong to the viewer. But I guess it also keeps them pure and innocent for the viewer, so the obsession with purity is ultimately all about sexual fantasy and possessiveness again.

    “I mean, as long as it’s a hot guy, of course. If it had been a fat, balding manager straddling you, then it’s obviously sexual harassment.”

    But if the guy doesn’t just straddle the chick like the assertive manly dude he is, than the girl might have to show him she’s interested and act somewhat assertive, and only sluts do that, you see. Clearly the only solution is to pretend there’s a difference between uninvited sexual advances from guys the heroine finds repulsive, and the same from guys she could be persuaded to bonk.

    Also, that waiter looks like he’s lusting after the parfait.

    1. More like to keep the guys watching the show from seeing any competition.

      There can be more than one reason for something.

      Also, that waiter looks like he’s lusting after the parfait.

      I’d lust after parfaits too.

    2. I could care less about what the fuck the Idols do in real life. Sure, I fantasise about Mayuyu and Acchan every now and then but they don’t belong to me in any way. They may ‘belong’ to their group or whatever company they are part of that may or may not be squeezing every last drop of sweat out of their schedule. If they end up having boyfriends or some significant male other I could give less of a fuck. Every witch hunt that happens because a AKB48 member turns out to be interested in a actual heterosexual relationship (as opposed to an imagined homosexual one) leaves a bad taste on my mouth which makes it hard to enjoy their next hit.

  7. @Amnesia: Hmm, I feel like more otoges are being turned into anime series lately. I was wonder how they’ll manage to deal with the multiple routes/story line changed from game format to series. I have a vague idea of the plot from reviews, but I always felt game –> anime is difficult to pull off convincingly for the audience unless they have a good sense of the main points already.

    >>There’s a fine (hair)line between the two scenarios that you must delicately tiptoe around.
    These kind of situations kind of annoyed me orz

    >>“Shut up, ma! I’m getting ready for work!… ugh, you made me lose my place. Now I gotta redo all my belts!” Killer checkerboard leggings underneath that coat too.

    Eh, I guess, it’s one of those odd scenes I can’t get out of mind once I’ve seen that many belts. At least his work clothes looks normal :L

    Winter 2013 looks to be less than impressive, but at least the other shows should cont. again soon.

  8. have you watched akb0048? i have absolutely no interest in idols but that show somehow did the concept well, realy surprised me just how emotionaly effective it was. And if your talking about crazy eyes, all the idols in akb0048 have heart shapes in them for somereason.

    As for the season, im still looking forward to sasami-san@ganbaranai, though there realy isn’t anything else majorly good looking.

    Also saw Hakkenden Touhou Hakken Ibun, wasn’t too bad, it was full of bishounen and obvious fujoshi bait, but they werent emo punk looking atleast.

  9. I’ve been considering watching Love Live!, but my main reservation is the same as the complaint you made in your review – There’s just too many idols.

    It’s the same problem I had with iDOLM@STER. Just too many characters to keep track of, given that they’re all shoved at you all at once, and they all serve slight variations off of the same narrative role. It’s very hard to care about individual characters when presented with a scenario like this.

    Something like this could perhaps work if it was about an aspiring young J-Pop band of three to five girls. But anything over “five” just results in too much divided attention.

    One question – Any particular reason why you don’t want to write on Madoka Magica? I’m just curious about that.

    1. One question – Any particular reason why you don’t want to write on Madoka Magica? I’m just curious about that.

      With a show like Madoka, most people have already decided what the show means to them.

  10. Amnesia reminds me of the graphics debate in video games….I mean as I was watching it in the most “pretty” way I could on my 2-week-old, 39″ TV, I couldn’t help but think…what a waste. If they were going to “waste” all of these super-awesome-too-cool-to-wear costumes and gradient the shiz out of everybody’s eyes, the least they could do is remember they’re trying to tell a story. I mean I could understand if they titled the show “Bondage Butler Harem XIII” and then pulled the amnesia gimmick halfway through or or episode 4 or something…but throwing us in here gives any new viewer of the content (going in without viewing any kind of original if this is an adaptation) no goddamn reason whatsoever to care about this now-rendered-useless main girl. Is it still one of the most interesting shows I’ve seen based purely on…what I’ve seen? Yeah. In a while. Probably since uh…I dunno, Trapeze? I mean that wasn’t stunning but it sure did give the eyes a workout….Still, we watch these things for some kind of enjoyment and I swear I don’t even think I can stand another pitiful squeak or faint from this particular main character. I should probably stop trying to make exceptions for the Reverse Harem genre….

    1. Were the “graphics” that good though? The costumes were elaborate, but I imagine these bishie shows are always fancy when it comes to how the characters look.

  11. I definitely agreeing on Love Live. And speaking of guys attracted to young female school idols, why didn’t they try making it a coed school instead? Oh wait then the premise wouldn’t work. So yeah Love Live, it’s a cheesy ‘WE CAN DO IT’ story. Oh well, at least the animation is good…

    Read Amnesia spoilers and man, this cannot go down well. Apparently the heroine has ZERO dialogue in the game. I don’t know if that’s how much dating sims work but that really explains how lifeless the main heroine is. Might as well replace her with a plank of wood.

    All in all, slim pickings this season.

    1. Oh well, at least the animation is good…

      Is it? I always find dancing in anime so janky.

      Apparently the heroine has ZERO dialogue in the game.

      I could sort of understand that within the context of a video game where the player is meant to provide the inner dialogue for the “main” character. For an anime adaptation, what we get instead, however, is a female character who seems to have a bevy of males to tell her what to do.

      1. Is it? I always find dancing in anime so janky.

        Compared to what I’ve seen, it’d be up to par with Idolmaster– minus the distracting CG and a lot better than from what’s in AKB0048.

        Amnesia may be a classic example of just the creators refusing to taint the self-insert fantasy and this incapable of creating of a personality for our heroine. Yeah.

  12. I BEG TO DISAGREE. LOVE LIVE! is fucking awesome. Even their seiyuu concerts were awesome to. If u think LOVE LIVE! sucks, u should better wtch hentai instead.

    Like they said, “Japanese culture is not a place for Western retards.” \m/

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