What I Watched Today: Caligula, Cutey Honey Universe, and books that’ll make you wanna kill yourself

But I mean, these shows already make me want to kill myself, so what do I need those books for? 

Caligula Ep. 1: High school sucks

Wanna know why I even took an interest in this anime series in the first place? Well, check out the synopsis:

Mobius is a perfect digital world for the imagined benefit of humanity by μ, a virtual idol program that attained sentience and self-awareness. Only humans who are suffering in the real world and strongly relate to μ’s songs are lured into Mobius. Once they enter, people often forget that the real world exists. Regardless of age or gender, they are turned into students and forced to experience school life over and over, which μ considers “the most radiant time in a person’s life.”

Doesn’t that sound like anime’s biggest problem in a nutshell? Series after series are dedicated to the idolatry of high school life. So when a show comes along that has the potential to flip this trope upside-down, of course my interest is piqued. I really hoped that Caligula could deliver. So does it? Eh. The first fifteen minutes of the first episode are okay. They’re not great, but they’re not bad. Ritsu is a high schooler with an odd interest in psychology and philosophy. He tries to apply some of the highfalutin concepts that he reads about to his own life, but this doesn’t always work out. Still, he seems contented enough. Good school, good friends, and good books — what’s there to be unhappy about? That’s when he started to notice all of the incongruities around him. It all began when he stared at a bowl of ramen. No, seriously. Then later that night, he heard a strange voice call out to him while listening to μ’s latest single. Slowly but surely, Ritsu becomes more and more dissatisfied with his life, but he can’t quite put his finger on the cause. The world around him just feels… off. Sometimes, his friends’ behavior is off. It’s like a glitch in the Matrix. One rainy day, it looks as if everyone had turned their umbrellas in perfect synchronization, but because it only happened for a split second, Ritsu can’t decide if he actually saw it or if he’s just imagining things. And every so often, he see glimpses of another life — a life full of medication and doctors. That’s ominous. But concerning the episode itself, so far so good, right? Then the last five minutes of the episode happened.

During a graduation ceremony, Ritsu sort of freaks out in front of everyone. That’s when μ appears out of nowhere and starts singing. In reaction to her song, most of the student body suddenly transforms and goes on a rampage. Ritsu tries to escape with his friend Mifue, but he runs into this guy armed with a comically over-sized revolver. He takes out Ritsu’s pursuers, but before the anime can explain what’s going on, time’s up. The episode is over, and we’ll have to wait until next week to see more. But even so, I can’t shake that feeling of disappointment, because it looks as though Caligula will likely devolve into a series of shounen-esque battles. That’s not what I’m interested in at all. Oh yeah, there’s also a subplot involving Mifue, but it’s really just of the same, i.e. something’s off about this world.

Cutie Honey Universe Ep. 1: Oh boy…

I’ve never bothered with the Cutie Honey series before, so this is all new to me. First, we have Honey, a blonde girl who attends a girls-only academy full of inappropriate lesbian teachers. Whenever the evil Panther Claw organization strikes, our heroine transforms into Cutie Honey, a red-haired, sword-wielding soldier of love. Apparently, the bad guys (girls?) have taken over a jewelry store, but what they really want is Honey’s “Airborn Element Fixing Device” — whatever the fuck that is. As our heroine takes damage throughout her many battles, her clothes slow disintegrate until she’s practically naked. Unfortunately, Honey is unable to subdue her true nemesis Sister Jill, but she manages to at least make it through the day relatively unscathed. Finally, our heroine returns home to find her best friend all tied up shibari-style and covered in welts. Why? ‘Cause she tried to cover for her best friend, and this is what the evil teacher did to her. So yeah, you can definitely tell that this show isn’t intended for me. It’s like a trashy relic from a long, forgotten era. Its charms are wasted on me, but I’m sure someone out there is thrilled.

Libra of Nil Admirari Ep. 1: This is why reading is for losers

Yeah, I always knew books were only put on this Earth to corrupt the precious minds of our young children…

…wait, what’s going on?

C’mon, do you really gotta give the cute mascot character a butthole?

Aw man, why’s it gotta be like this! Anyways, you’ll find Tsugumi at the center of this story. Right after the OP, she finds herself being accosted by her brother Hitaki. He demands to know why she’s being forced into an arranged marriage. At first, I thought that perhaps Hitaki treasured his sister’s independence, but it turns out he’s really just a bougie asshole: “[Our father] wants to protect the family by selling you to some useless nouveau riche! Don’t you have any pride as a noble?!” Anyways, the damage is done. When the girl checks up on him later, she finds him spouting gibberish in a darkened room that stinks of oil. All of a sudden, he lights a match and sets himself on fire in front of his dear sister. God, younger siblings in anime are always creepy. The kid somehow manages to survive, but Tsugumi blames herself. More importantly, nothing that I’m watching right now jives with the OP’s tone. But that’s when these bishies show up to brighten our heroine’s day.

According to the pretty boys, there are “cursed tomes” filled to the brim with human emotions. Sometimes, the emotions are so intense that they can drive the reader to madness… like Hitaki! Luckily, Western printed books are safe. Phew! Thank God for Johannes Gutenberg! He really saved us our hides! But unfortunately, Japan remains littered with dangerous, handwritten books. As a result, our bishies need to go all Fahrenheit 451 on those books’ asses! Okay, maybe not that last part. But you may as well burn them, ’cause when Tsugumi’s butler goes to retrieve her brother’s book, it literally radiates with evil ki. Only our heroine can see its aura, though. This compels Hayato, one of the pretty boys, to bow his head in reverence, and beg Tsugumi to join their team. Believe in me who believes in you, and together, we can burn every copy of Dazai’s overrated works! I’m just kidding, by the way… but if we’re talking about Japanese novels filled with intense negative emotions, he’s the first to come to mind. Then again, the timeline might not fit… I know this show is set in some alternate universe where the Taisho era is extended another 25 years. Anyways, the girl eventually accepts the boys’ offer after talking to their boss, and that’s that. Also, her arranged marriage is put on hold for now so that she can cavort with her harem of bishies. What an understanding father…

This anime’s premise is ridiculous, but Sunday is looking pretty barren in terms of bloggable shows. I might really have to lean on Libra of Nil Admirari if nothing else comes along. If you’re wondering about Shokugeki no Soma, that coverage will appear in tomorrow’s “Everything Else” post instead.

4 thoughts on “What I Watched Today: Caligula, Cutey Honey Universe, and books that’ll make you wanna kill yourself

  1. DerekL

    “It’s like a trashy relic from a long, forgotten era”

    It *is* a trashy relic from a long forgotten era – Cutie Honey is one of the oldest franchises in anime (the manga and original anime debuted in 1973). This re-imagining didn’t stray far from the long established formula.

  2. Advaris

    I don’t think you can expect a serious, introspective anime about the idolization of high-school with an anime that has those kind of characters and promotional material. I mean those stuff belong more to a chuunibyo anime. The synopsis is fine on its own, but the other stuff don’t mesh with that. Considering the protagonist’s interest in psychology and philosophy, I guess we can also expect some fauxlosophic speeches on society and the world. Those chuunibyou love to spout psychological and philosophical quotes and babbles.

    Cutie Honey is indeed a trashy relic from a long, forgotten era from the same creator of the Devilman. I personally think both of them need to stay there, but obviously someone disagree.

    That Libra of Nil Admirari (Damn, how the Japanese can come up with such crazy names again and again baffle me. Lol) is a standard reverse harem anime. It’s as dull, boring and stupid as its counterpart in a completely different way. I do agree that the direction of this anime is just weird, Its OP says that it’s a light-hearted reverse harem romcom. Its content is a badly-written mystery? I don’t know what to think of this episode. I guess the next episode is going to be more inline with the OP?

    And look, another shojo with arranged marriage. Sure, it’s put on hold somehow, but I hope it’s there for a reason. Hopefully to mock this shit to death because if not, why it’s there in the first place? Because it’s historically accurate? Heh. I always hate that defense to indefensible shit like this one.

  3. ?!^*$

    “This anime’s premise is ridiculous, but Sunday is looking pretty barren in terms of bloggable shows. I might really have to lean on Libra of Nil Admirari if nothing else comes along.”
    Blog Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu instead.


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