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.
* * * * *
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.
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?
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.
* * * * *
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:
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:
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.
* * * * *
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:
Oh well, Nobunagun‘s still the same boring, ugly show as ev-… wait, what?
A-are you fucking serious?
* * * * *
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:
In contrast, the oniichan in pupa is left bloodied and lifeless after the “deed” has been done:
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…
…but not here?
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:
But then this isn’t censored:
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.
* * * * *
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…