Oh no, the fall season is finally here. That means I have to actually start updating this blog in earnest. After all, I keep saying that I’ll write again. At some point, I actually have do it. Even if it means writing about nonsense like… Shokugeki no Soma. If you wanna be snarky, here, lemme give you ammunition right off the bat: I never finished the first season. In fact, I watched one whole episode from the second season! Yep, I haven’t got the slightest clue what has happened to Yukihira, and honestly, I don’t really care. I’m still going to blog the third season anyway. It’s fine, it’s fiiiiine. It’s gonna be alright. I’ll just write a few words for a few weeks, then stop updating again like I always do. You guys already know the drill. Plus, it’s not as if this show is anything more than softcore foodporn.
Anyways, here’s the obligatory episode summary: Yukihira wants to challenge the Elite 10. What’s the Elite 10? Eh, they’re just shounen fodder. The hero always needs some a challenge to conquer, and the Elite 10 is the latest obstacle to stand in his way. We’ll probably get more background info on each of them as the season progresses, but who cares? Again, I’m just here for the foodporn. Staring at all the delicious foodporn just gets me so fired up that I gotta go take care of it later. Yep. Anyways, in order to even challenge the Elite 10, our boy wonder has to prove himself. I assume his exploits in the first two seasons aren’t enough somehow. Tsk tsk. But our dude is resourceful. He’s clever! He’s ingenious! He thus hatches a plan: if his booth can outsell one of the Elite 10’s booth at the moon festival, they will have to accept his challenge! So it’s like a food challenge anyway. But different. But… same. But… different.
Unfortunately, there’s a dearth of juicy, blood-pumping cooking in this week’s episode. And no juicy cooking means no anime babes inexplicably losing their clothes during a taste test. Alright, time to pack it up, boys… nothing to see here. Oh, I should pretend that I’m here for the articles? Okay, okay. Well, the rest of the episode consists mostly of boring logistical talk. Gosh, where should I set up my booth? What am I gonna cook? What is he gonna cook? Well, y’see, booths set up on main street are blah blah blah, just get back to the food. The opponent is making mapo tofu. Did you know that mapo tofu translates to pockmarked grandma’s beancurd? Mmm, appetizing. I love all things tofu, though. As a result, I love mapo tofu. And damn, I definitely got hungry looking at all the anime mapo tofu in this episode, ’cause all I’ve had today are some frozen meatballs.
The only other thing of note from this week’s episode was this Chinese cuisine research society… The place apparently features only dudes. Bald dudes at that. Bald dudes tossing dry rice in a wok in unison. But their boss has stereotypical spiky hair with blond highlights. It’s… a bit bizarre, but whatever, we all got our kinks. And as an aside, I like Sichuan food. But like I’ve said, other than some mapo tofu, this episode has a dearth of actual cooking. There’s big talk about how spicy the mapo tofu is, but actual cooking details are at an all time low. I imagine they’re saving it for later. Instead, the big orgasmic payoff of the episode is apparently Yukihira’s booth request. It’s gonna be next to his competitor! SHOCK. He’s also going to be cooking Chinese food. DOUBLE SHOCK. I don’t get why everyone’s so surprised. Let’s dispel this fiction once and for all that the Gary Stu protagonist doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
The second show I watched tonight was Black Clover, which is yet another shounen. Sadly, it doesn’t have the thin veneer of cooking to keep my interest. It doesn’t even pretend to have hot animu babes. Hell, the first few minutes of the episode has the protagonist proposing to a nun of all people. A woman of the cloth. Needless to say, he’s a special, precious boy. But this was not a special, precious anime. Asta’s voice is super annoying. Will Ferrell did a character on SNL who couldn’t modulate the volume of his voice. That’s Asta in a nutshell. Not only is he yelling for 90% of the episode, his voice is just plain annoying. Then the bad guy shows up in the stereotypical animu psychotic guy voice, and it’s like having both of my ears fucked by sharp prongs. Near the end of the episode, during Asta’s attempt at heroism, I actually found myself looking up the boxscore for the Nets-Knicks game. A preseason game is more interesting than this generic magic shit. I turned back to the the show just in time to catch some disembodied narrator educating the viewer on how the three-leaf clover represents faith, hope, and love. Uh huh. How the four-leaf clover represents good luck. Oh yeah. That makes sense. And how the five-leaf clover houses… A DEMON.
Welp, I sure am glad I wasted 25 minutes on that bullshit. Onto the next show…
Christ, how much longer is anime gonna keep jerking itself to the warring states period? As long as America keeps pumping out WW2 movies, I guess. This time, however, we don’t even bother setting up the plot. A girl in the present-day tries to walk across the street when the world suddenly freezes around her. Next thing she knows, she’s whisked away to the land of pretty boy warlords. But wait! This ain’t your ordinary Toyotomi Hideyoshi!
Get outta here, crusty old man! I can’t ship you in my yaoi fanfic! Make room for the new sexy hotness!
VAMPIRES?! Fuck it. I’m done. I almost wrote a thousand words. That’s all you’re gonna get tonight. Bye.
It’s good to see you writing again. Can’t wait to see more.
I’m with you on Asta shouting a lot in Black Clover. He seriously never shuts up and everything is just the same tone and it is really and truly annoying. Hopefully something lodges in his throat next episode that never allows him to speak above a whisper ever again.
All of the characters seem annoying, really. Maybe Asta is super annoying just to make the rest look like angels by comparison.
Shokugeki no Soma might have “cooking”, foodporn, or hot animu babes, but it’s pretty much the same thing as Black Clover. Yeah, I don’t watch it. I tried to watch its first season, but I quickly lose my interest in it and move on.
Black Clover is just so bland. I want to call it dull, too, but the protag is just so loud that I prefer to call it annoying instead. It’s pretty much just a checklist of or a game of Mad Libs for shonen tropes. Try harder, Japan! If I want to be generous, I could pretend that its premiere describe a world where multiple divisions (i.e. peasants versus nobles or mages versus muggles a.k.a. the usual “watered-down” stuff) built deep into its culture and how it deals with these discriminatory stuff could make it stand out… What a joke.
Sengoku Night Blood is the usual terrible otome game adaptation, so meh. Nekomimi vampire samurai warlords… You know anime has ruined your brain when you see something like this and your first response is: “This is cliched and unoriginal.” The poster is enough for me.
P.S: I prefer anime jerking itself to the warring states period or other samurai-dominated eras like the bakumatsu. I can’t stomach anime when it jerks itself to WW2 period or stuff related to WW2. Nope, my first response, most of the time, is to gag at that stuff.
Shrug, I can’t remember the last WW2 anime.
And that is a good thing because Japan can’t confront their past during WW2 without mangling it. Even in anime that are merely related to WW2, not about WW2. At the moment, I only remember two anime that deal with this stuff. The two of them are situated in the final months of or the aftermath of WW2 instead of during one, but I think that my point still stands.
– In This Corner of the World: This is a historical fiction slice-of-life of a girl named Suzu who lives in Kure during the final months of WW2. It’s adapted from a manga and the manga had a scene in which Suzu finds out how Japan has oppressed the Koreans during the war, but that scene is absent from the anime. I think we agree that it’s almost impossible to be apolitical, so what does this says about the anime and its creator?
– Concrete Revolutio: This anime is indeed interesting, but it also has a lot of problems. I’ll ignore that the executions of events tend to be either so-so, high-handed, or lame because it does raise interesting points. I just don’t like how the points are raised.
I’ll focus on its historical part, the one that sours my viewing experience. I mean “The War”? Really? If you can’t even say WW2, why do you even bother make the anime situated in its aftermath? Not to mention, making the Americans as the bad guys. It’s like what happens if Germany creates an animated movie situated in the aftermath of WW2, but they take out all that stuff about Nazi and holocaust, and then make the Americans as the shallow and one-dimensional bad guys.
A lot of its defenders say that it doesn’t matter because that isn’t what the anime is about, but I disagree. If you want to do something historical, especially about something as serious and important as WW2, you can’t half-ass it. You just can’t. The fact that this anime has no problem at all with portraying the Vietnam War and then framing it and the American history told in that episode to demonize America as much as possible is simply mind-boggling and disingenuous.
And this is just the anime that I can remember at the moment. I haven’t talk about the stuff that I find in other J-medias. Basically, I prefer anime to not deal with WW2 if it can’t deal with them properly. It makes bad stuff worse and good stuff bad.
I wouldn’t say Concrete Revolutio is historical. It’s merely inspired by the events of WW2. America is portrayed negatively, but Japan is as well. You can argue that America’s portrayal is one-dimensional, but at the same time, the anime isn’t focused on America. You can then say, “Why not show both sides?” Cause we don’t have time. Just because we don’t see the good side of America in the anime doesn’t mean we have to assume that it doesn’t exist. Yes, the show is heavy-handed, but I think subtlety is overrated. You run into two problems when you attempt to capture the “subtle nuances”: 1) you run the risk of being long-winded and 2) you lose the evocative spirit that you were aiming for in the first place. To use another example, people always get all morally righteous about Twilight, e.g. “It promotes abusive relationships!!!” C’mon, the majority of grown ass women know how to take care of themselves. They don’t need a film that explores the “subtle nuances” of fucking a vampire. The movie is designed to titillate and be evocative of transgressive romance. I therefore think it’s a waste of mental power to sit here and tut tut at Edward’s psychotic behavior, because it’s plainly obvious. So what I’m getting at is that the heavy-handedness expresses a certain level of anger and frustration that the creator feels about these topics. And while they aren’t exactly being even-handed in their portrayal, no one in Japan believes that real life America are one-dimensional bad guys. I get what you’re saying about anime tends to whitewash the events of WW2 to downplay Japan’s moral culpability. Concerns about Japan not accepting responsibility for the occupation of both China and Korea is relevant. But I just can’t get worked up about America’s portrayal on the show.
The fifth leaf meaning “DEMON” is really incredible, shounen manga authors just need someway to make their main character a demon/it’s host and I’m not so sure why.
Ya know, if you hate seasonal anime so much (and a lot of it really is terrible), then why don’t you find an old show that you like and write about that?
Nah, that’s not what I do.
@E Minor: I can’t reply to your message directly, so I reply to it here.
“Just because we don’t see the good side of America in the anime doesn’t mean we have to assume that it doesn’t exist.”
I know what you mean, but I don’t like this kind of reasoning. I mean with this kind of reasoning anyone can claim that any story is deep and multi-faceted. We just don’t see it in the story and just have to assume that it’s there. Yeah, I know this reasoning can be sort of applied to Concrete Revolutio because the subject of its one-dimensional treatment exists in real life and is definitely not one-dimensional.
But I still think that it’s a failure for CR. It detracts its points, making them cheap and hollow. Add the historical and political baggage of Japan to the mix and it also becomes disingenuous.
It feels like what happens when one watches one of those harem anime with its protag casually molesting the girls for some in-universe reasons and justifications, and it has the gall to unironically tells its viewers that men should respect and treat woman with dignity. The message isn’t wrong, but it comes out as disingenuous and mocking.
BTW, I’m not claiming that a story must treat every sides or viewpoints to be equal. There are sides or viewpoints that are inherently so wrong that to treat it as viable and can stand side-by-side with the other sides and viewpoints regardless of the reasons behind its existence is disingenuous as f*ck. Understanding doesn’t equate to being right. People tend to misinterpret my opinion about this kind of thing. I hope this make it clearer.
No, they can’t. You don’t likewise assume that the show is deep just because something is absent. Anyway, the rest of this discussion is out of the scope of this post.
Yeah, this discussion has nothing to do with the post anymore. Thank you for having this discussion with me. I hope it doesn’t inconvenience you too much.