Everything Else, Week 11: Wild tentacles appear!

space dandy 1101

Maybe I’ll use the lull of the week to cover the shows I haven’t been blogging about in recent weeks. Y’know, stuff like Hamatora, Nobunagun, etc.

* * * * *

Golden Time

I dropped Golden Time for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that I’m just impatient. We all know how the story’s going to unfold. Eventually, Banri’s past will catch up to him, which will result in a split between him and Koko. Then perhaps he’ll get her back (this is the most likely outcome), or maybe he won’t. This is pretty much how most romance stories play out: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy then finds girl again. In something like Romeo & Juliet, both boy and girl end up dying, but regardless of the outcome, the form is still the same. As we can see from the last couple of episodes, Golden Time is no different.

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The unfortunate predicament, however, is that the show is 2-cour, so you have to sit through 22 goddamn episodes just for the boy to inevitably lose the girl. Personally, I just didn’t want to wait for the penny to drop, especially because I have no respect whatsoever for Banri. Since the form is always the same, I can just drop the show temporarily and not miss a single significant detail. So anyway, now that we’ve gotten the “boy loses girl” part out of the way, we can now watch and see how he’ll find the girl again. Still, it was pretty amusing to watch Banri and Linda shove each other back and forth in the latest episode. The two worst characters of the show getting in a fight… ah, if only I had some popcorn on hand.

So where do we go from here? Will Koko take Banri back? Probably. That’s the sort of happy-go-lucky outcome that you’d expect from a show like this. Still, I’d be over-the-moon if our heroine could somehow walk away from her ex-boyfriend for good. Some people are far more patient than I am, that’s for sure. Some people are willing to stick with their flawed partners through the thick and thin. And to a certain extent, I can understand this sentiment. I can understand putting up with a person who has minor flaws. For example, your boyfriend is a little inconsiderate. Well, that’s relatively easy to correct. It could still be a deal breaker, but it’s not the end of the world, y’know? On the other hand, Banri needs serious therapy. He needs to find himself. As a result, he’s not ready for a relationship. How can he love another person when he can’t even love himself?

golden time 2201

Koko is so young. I mean, I’m sure Banri’s a good person despite his wishy-washy nature, but if you have to go through all this drama and shed all those tears just to make this relationship work… c’mon, man. She has her entire life to live. Why waste a significant portion of your younger years trying to fix a broken person? The onus should be on Banri to fix himself before he enters a relationship. He shouldn’t put the burden on his poor girlfriend. No, I’m not saying that relationships should be reserved for perfect people and perfect people only, but we gotta draw the line somewhere. And to me, Banri falls way short of that line. Yes, couples can help each other grow, but again, there has to be a realistic limit to this. It just isn’t right that someone like Banri gets to drag Koko down just because he needs help.

* * * * *

Hamatora

I stopped blogging about this show for largely the same reason as with Golden Time. We all know Nice will eventually face off against Moral; it’s just a matter of when. I didn’t want to sit through all the meaningless side plots though, so I “skipped,” i.e., loosely followed, a few episodes. Well, as of the eleventh episode of the season, our star-crossed couple finally sits down to have a chat — and in Nowhere of all places too — but other than this cat and mouse game that they’ve got going between them, that’s about all we get to see for now. Still, we’re getting closer to that much-anticipated moment (not really). I will give Hamatora credit for one thing though: it isn’t as afraid as other shows to play hardball. I thought Art was an important character in the story, but he’s been dead since the seventh episode. No other major character has died since, but I gotta admit blowing Takahiro up in front of his own mother was pretty cold:

hamatora 1102

It’s just too bad Moral is such a boring villain. He’s a your typical whack job with a one-dimensional philosophy, but like every other mad villain ever (see: Nolan’s Joker, PSYCHO-PASS‘s Makishima, etc.), he’s always one step ahead of the good guys. Nice literally has his foe right where he wants the guy, but Moral somehow ties a sharp string around Koneko’s neck when nobody is looking:

hamatora 1101

And as a result, he is able to leave Nowhere without having to put up much of a fight. Again, he’s just always at least one step ahead. It’s not that this trope is bad per se, but it tends to make writers lazy. You can always concoct some wild scenario in which the villain somehow manages to escape, because why not? He’s the mastermind! He’s calculated very possible move! He’s the puppetmaster and we’re just dancing to his tune! Whatever.

* * * * *

Nobunagun

I’m scanning through the latest episode to see what I’ve been missing. Doesn’t look like much. She’s battling the Invasion Objects as usual. It’s a bit odd that she’s fighting in a tight, short skirt, but whatever. It’s just anime being anime, right? Oh look, she just destroyed the big baddie:

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Oh well, Nobunagun‘s still the same boring, ugly show as ev-… wait, what?

nobunagun 1103

A-are you fucking serious?

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welp

* * * * *

pupa

I actually liked the sixth episode. It’s literally just two minutes of Yume moaning “onii-chan” as she straddles her big brother and takes pleasure in consuming his flesh. For once, the short format works in the adaptation’s favor. It’s long enough to leave the audience feeling uncomfortable, but not so long that the scene becomes ridiculous. What I like more, however, is how the anime subverts a common trope that you usually expect to see in other incest-related shows. Yes, this is a very gratuitous scene. The difference, however, is that it’s gratuitous in the other direction. For example, here’s a similar moment between siblings from Kissxsis:

kiss x sis

In contrast, the oniichan in pupa is left bloodied and lifeless after the “deed” has been done:

pupa 0601

Pleasure and pain becomes interchangeable: “As I endure pain not unlike pleasure, I opened my eyes and see my sister, covered in blood, single-mindedly gorging on my flesh.” Through the use of cannibalism as a metaphor, pupa isn’t shy in suggesting that incest between family members is often an act of abuse. That may sound like a truism to us, but certainly not to some anime and their viewers.

It’s just too bad that the rest of the episodes are just as weak as the adaptation has always been. The narrative’s too disjointed for me to even bother getting into too much detail anymore. So I’ll just take this moment to focus on how silly the censorship has been. For example, why is this guy’s knife censored here…

pupa 0801

…but not here?

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At one point in the ninth episode, it sounds as if Utsutsu’s torturers are taking a chainsaw to his body, but of course, we can’t really be sure of this because we can’t see a goddamn thing:

pupa 0803

But then this isn’t censored:

pupa 1001

Apparently, it’s perfectly fine to see the random guts and limbs of faceless guards strewn about, but by God, you better censor that chainsaw! Why? Quite frankly, your guess is as good as mine.

* * * * *

Silver Spoon

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This isn’t a bad anime. It’s just that most of the time the anime’s really goddamn boring. The last few episodes have actually been pretty interesting to watch though. Why? Because the episodes are actually about the characters and their real lives. Y’know, none of that adopting and training a puppy bullshit. Man, I don’t want to watch that. That’s just fluff. That’s like eating cotton candy when I’m hungry for some meat and potatoes. Anyway, both Aki and Ichiro’s families are facing financial troubles. Despite this, Aki knows she has to tell her family now that she doesn’t want to carry on with the Mikage Ranch or she’ll never be able to. That’s the sort of thing I want to watch. I don’t give a shit about some damn horse-jumping competition. I really don’t. What I want to see are real human conflicts, and how the characters manage to cope with said conflicts. A lot of anime fans always say, “Well, you gotta have the boring episodes to really appreciate the sad ones.” I can never understand this mentality. You want to know what boring episodes do for me? They just make me want to turn the show off for good. I mean, I don’t need to eat a Big Mac right before a rib eye steak in order to enjoy the latter.

* * * * *

The screenshot at the top of the post is just a tease. There’s nothing about Space Dandy here. Anyway, that’s it for now. Until next week…

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25 thoughts on “Everything Else, Week 11: Wild tentacles appear!

  1. higgsbosoff

    Well, being a Silver Spoon lover, I must say that I kinda understand that logic – in the sense that the “boring episodes” build up the character’s personality, and thus set us up for major conflicts and make their reaction to those believable and realistic. And “major conflicts” is used very loosely here, this is the first time Silver Spoon goes for comparatively “dark” stuff. The whole meat of Season 1 (pun intended) was focused over Hachiken’s ethical struggles over the issue of killing and eating animals, which is not nearly as dramatic as this. I actually have read the opinions of people who are discontent with Silver Spoon going this road and losing its previous levity.
    Personally, however, I think truth is… I never found those episodes boring at all. I guess it just depends on me liking the comedy as well as the dialogue. If you think about it, if “boring” defines just “stuff that we can expect/already know how will pan out”, Kill la Kill could be as boring, if not more, than Silver Spoon (at least in Silver Spoon you don’t have the certainty that our protagonist is going to win that horse jumping competition, or that Komaba’s team is going to win the championships). So what makes me enjoy both “Kill la Kill” and “Silver Spoon” is all the surrounding stuff: the style and bangs and all the nice allusions/symbols in “Kill la Kill”, and the dialogue and characters in “Silver Spoon”. It’s a soothing experience, true, but that’s why I don’t mind it – if “Kill la Kill” is a shot of concentrated coffee, “Silver Spoon” is camomile. You can enjoy only one of the two or both, it’s a matter of tastes and mood of the moment (I’m pretty sure in the past I wouldn’t have enjoyed “Silver Spoon” as much either. It helps that I am interested in agriculture in general, as I have a friend who works in a related field and we often talk about it, as well as I have thought about eating meat and occasionally even about going vegetarian myself).

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I don’t really care that anyone likes the show. I’m not offended that you do, so you don’t have to defend your love for it to me. Honestly, I’m not telling people what they can or can’t like. Like with every other post I write, I’m just saying why I personally dislike Silver Spoon. And the reason I dislike it is that I don’t give a shit about the slice of life stuff. I’d rather watch paint drying. It never makes me laugh. And yeah, I don’t like tea.

      Now, just because I complain about Golden Time and Hamatora being predictable, it doesn’t mean I’m leveling the same criticism at Silver Spoon. I don’t have any predictions for Silver Spoon. All I’m saying is that I don’t want to watch a guy train a puppy. As for Kill la Kill being predictable, sure, it is. But at least it has unpredictable style, unlike the shows that I’m complaining about. That’s why I don’t think Kill la Kill is boring in the same way that those shows are. Certainly, I have my quibbles with Kill la Kill, but they have nothing to do with my level of interest in the show.

      Reply
      1. higgsbosoff

        Yeah, I guess I just wanted to rationalize why I like it despite what happens on screen being absolutely unexciting. I do realize that you’re not offended (that goes without saying), I just wanted to give my perspective as someone who both likes the show and occasionally suggested it to you on the past.

        Reply
      2. Flawfinder

        Yeah, I think it’s all about how you use the “episodic or whatever” sort of storytelling. I’m personally a big fan of that style when it’s used well, because it allows for a main plot that doesn’t overstay its welcome and the rest of the episodes can be used for some really creative scenarios in the vein of what’s currently airing on Cartoon Network (Bebop being my favorite of the anime that use it well. Not really sure if Haibane or Tatami counts).

        I personally don’t think Silver Spoon does it well either for similar reasons to you. Most of the people I know who like the show seem to enjoy it solely because of the characters, which is fine, but if they’re not doing anything important, I don’t see how they can entertain alone. But eh.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I like Bebop so it’s not even the episodic style that I have problems with. Bebop at least had conflicts from episode to episode. I guess learning how to ride a horse is technically a conflict, but yawn…

        2. higgsbosoff

          Funnily enough, I was never hooked much to Bebop. And I had to drop Space Dandy because I hated the lead and just couldn’t stay hooked. For all its relatively episodic nature, Silver Spoon still has some kind of continuity though, while especially Space Dandy is built to PURPOSEFULLY fuck up the idea of continuity. Which is great by itself, it’s just that I still couldn’t bring myself to keep my attention focused for more than three episodes. It felt, ultimately, without much heart put into it – which is the opposite case for Silver Spoon, as it’s clear that Arakawa cares a lot about the setting (having been born in a farm herself and left it to become a mangaka, someone thinks that Mikage is actually an author avatar).

        3. Flawfinder

          I’m of the (sort of) opposite view in that I can’t stand shows with continuity and heart when said heart “overwhelms” the continuity to the point that nothing feels important (f*ck Robotics;Notes and its mecha masturbation to the point that nothing ever happened). Don’t get me wrong, I HATE stuff that feels like the author doesn’t care about the concept. But don’t rely on the concept alone to make things feel urgent. If Bebop isn’t your speed, then I’ll use Planetes as an example of how you can make a good work environment anime with an episodic beginning and a more serious ending.

        4. Flawfinder

          I’d say it could have worth as an example of how not to do a VN adaptation, but it’s around six or so years too late to the party. Even Steins;Gate, for all its positive traits, can be used as evidence regarding how not to do one of ’em.

          Although the backlash when people found out it was awful was kind of funny.

        5. E Minor Post author

          Although the backlash when people found out it was awful was kind of funny.

          Obviously, noitaminA shows are good by default.

        6. E Minor Post author

          I focus more on the people doing the adaptation, so I wasn’t too shocked that the first few episodes were inane. Production I.G has always been a bit hit-or-miss. Plus, I thought Chaos;Head was horrible, and Steins;Gate only decent at best.

  2. higgsbosoff

    Planetes was an excellent show indeed. I haven’t seen R;N but I think I get your point. But I think that talking about heart “overwhelming” continuity is pitting one against another two things that aren’t really in contrast. Fullmetal Alchemist was full of heart (in fact, I’d argue some of the major ethical themes of Silver Spoon were already present in FMA) and still a triumph of continuity, with a plot tightly woven and planned from beginning to end. I don’t think that Silver Spoon is uneventful because of its heart, but just because it aims at a high level of realism, and realistically, not much can happen in a high schooler’s life.
    Which kinda makes it hard to me to understand why I like it, because I usually am not a fan of realism for its own sake. I often find stuff that only pursues realism and foregoes anything else dull and forgettable. When I watched Haneke’s latest movie, “Amour”, that’s exactly the thing that made me go “meh” about it, that it was so focused on keeping it real that it forgot to give us anything that was inspirational, or surprising, or generally that could make us get the feeling that the movie had something more to it than what a simple set of webcams placed in the house of someone in the same exact situation would have captured. I’ll go out on a leg and guess that what does it for me in “Silver Spoon” is the fact that it captures both the bitter and the sweet side by alternating character drama and comedy, and that a very delicate hand drives the events of the plot towards the exploration of certain themes rather than leave it entirely to the whims of reality’s randomness. Or maybe I just like the cute animals. I really wouldn’t know.

    About the lack of heart, that was a comment I was addressing mostly to Space Dandy. For all the fact that it didn’t work for me, I never felt the same way towards Bebop, and I liked Samurai Champloo a lot. But Dandy just feels empty to me; it gave me immediately the impression it was a slightly forced attempt to appeal to western audiences, even when that meant foregoing some elements of artistic vision, and then for all its visual and narrative creativity I couldn’t really buy into it. It just felt artificial. Hence why I dropped it.

    Reply
      1. higgsbosoff

        Mental association. Episodic & Watanabe. Plus I’ve seen it recently and remember it better than Bebop. And I seem to remember reading on your blog that you liked it too (unless I’m confusing you with someone else, in which case, apologies).

        Reply
        1. Flawfinder

          Yeah, but unlike Bebop, let alone Silver Spoon, Dandy doesn’t really have an underlying main plot to the whole thing. So associating it to my first comment makes no sense because I specifically referenced episodic shows “with an actual plot”. That’s like pointing out your dislike for Regular Show or Johnny Bravo in order to defend your point.

  3. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    Not to make an echo chamber, but I agree with everything you said for Golden Time and relationships. Romance has become everyone’s “God”, an end-all be-all thing that fills the gaps of our hearts and strengthens us to accomplish great things while giving us blissful happiness. It’s a horrible fallacy that makes us overlook our need for help and self-reflection as well as who our partner really is and not who we see them as through the depp shade of pink. You’re just going to hurt your lover and yourself. Then you’ll be left in tears, confused, wondering what went wrong and “who’s really at fault”.

    Hamatora: I’ve really come to despise “mastermind” villains who are one step ahead. These villains are human, aren’t they? No human being can always be a step ahead unless they live in a world of stunted minds, then it’s really a “in a world of the blind…” kind of thing making them into an anomaly.
    _It’d actually be pretty interesting to see this cliche play out only to ultimately reveal that the villain was an A.I. all along, utilizing advanced hacking and such to determine the heroes’ plans and formulate a way out.

    On a similar note, I’m sure you’ve heard of Danganronpa by now. The game itself is a strange combination of wacky meets brutality in an “An Then There Were None/Battle Royal” type of thing, but most importantly is how it treats its mastermind. While keeping the real mental ability of the main villain just vague enough for interpretation, the “grand ol’ one-step-ahead” mastermind is caught off guard more times than once, having to bluff to play off their mistake. Like or hate it, even in a story like Dangan the mastermind is more realistic in nature than this crap.
    _Just too bad other aspects and characters of Dangan come off as flat or nonsensical.

    Pupa: Good of you to brush up against this show again.
    …Get it? Ay? Ay?
    Anyway, yeah, the symbolism was never anything very complex or too thought provoking but at least it did something unique that, surprisingly goes against the grain of “imouto incest” that intoxicates anime today. Too bad it was butchered by the stunted run time retarding censorship.

    Also: There’s no way that gif’s not from a porno. I mean…how does that even get made and it’s NOT a porno?

    Nobunagun: And how is THIS not a porno?
    Haha Though your use of gifs like this always cracks me up, mate.

    “The screenshot at the top of the post is just a tease. There’s nothing about Space Dandy here. Anyway, that’s it for now. Until next week…”
    Damn and blast your trickery!!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’s a horrible fallacy that makes us overlook our need for help and self-reflection as well as who our partner really is and not who we see them as through the depp shade of pink.

      What really bugs me is when people see an exception in their own personal lives and take it to be the rule. Oh, you found someone who is patient and strong enough to endure your mental problems? That’s great, but please don’t go around giving other people advice on what “true love” should be. Frankly, it’s dangerous. People always think love is supposed to be full of grand gestures, but that shit is unsustainable. Like how Linda’s reaction to her friends’ breakup is to tell Banri to chase after Koko. ‘Cause, y’know, that’s what the guy is supposed to do in romances! It’s a grand gesture! But fuck that. What happened to respecting the other person’s wishes. What happened to realizing that the other person has wants and desires too, and if they’re fed up with the relationship, we should respect their choice and give them the space they want?

      Reply
  4. ChaosCallMe

    Hmmm… censorship and its methods have really fascinated me as of late… particularly when it comes to anime. Censorship and revisions… that encourage a proper Blu-Ray release… I enjoy seeing a director’s cut of things, and the difference between TV airings and final optical media releases. But yeah… why on earth did they censor the weapons like that? Isn’t that kind of unusual? Usually most of the beams of light censoring, blurring censoring, and pixellation censoring that I have seen from screencaps of violent or sexually explicit shows make a good amount of sense, but this one struck me as a bit odd. What a very strange decision… I’d be interested to see if anyone has any reasoning behind this, or better yet, any official word on why this decision was made. Is there some sort of broadcasting law I’m missing? Perhaps it was aired on a particular date for the anniversary of some gruesome act that I’m unaware of? Am I missing a bigger part of the context of the episode itself? What, exactly?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Maybe the act of pulling out a knife is the bad part, not the knife itself. Hell, I don’t know.

      Reply
      1. ChaosCallMe

        Oh, and by the way, those lifeless bodies ARE “censored.” See that black blurring around the figures, and the overall darkness of the image? That’s one of many methods used, a la Deadman Wonderland. Though it’s interesting how it’s MUCH easier to make out this particular scene’s composition and elements as opposed to the ones that simply show a knife and chainsaw being drawn / prepped.

        Reply

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