Welp. But let’s cleanse our palate first before we get to the main course.
Grand Blue Ep. 1
Iori has moved away for college and would love more than anything to have a fresh start to adulthood. Unfortunately, he keeps finding himself in embarrassing and compromising situations all because he just can’t say no. Most of all, his constant fuck-ups disgusts Chisa, his childhood friend. Oh dear. Honestly, this anime must not be my cup of tea, because I didn’t laugh once during the entire episode. It just felt like men with silly faces screaming at each other. I’m not big into recreational drinking, so maybe it’s me. Maybe this is why I can’t appreciate the exaggerated scenarios involving booze. Or maybe the execution in the manga is superior. But honestly, guys like Iori annoy me. He seems so weak-willed, man. He keeps being dragged into unfortunate situations, because he can’t seem to stand his ground. And I know, I know… this is all for the sake of comedy. But when a guy lets himself get steam-rolled like this, I can’t laugh. I really can’t. Instead, I just think, “Wow, what a loser.” Chisa’s right. This guy is an idiot. You can’t help but laugh when life is out to get you. Irony is funny like that. But this guy can avoid his misfortunes. He simply won’t. Either he actually enjoys sabotaging himself, or he’s just that pathetic.
Happy Sugar Life Ep. 1
Satou would do anything to protect her “happy sugar life” with Shio. Anything. Even murder. Obviously, she’s not mentally right upstairs. It sounds like she’s been abused as a younger child by an older woman, and those scars are now paying dividends now that she’s on the cusp of adulthood. But it’s more than that. Her meaningless love for Shio (“She fulfills my heart”) and her off-putting obsession with immaturity and prepubescence (“She’s so innocent, so pure”) smacks of the sort of obsession that certain anime fans hold for their dearest made-up heroines, especially the loli kind. Whenever these individuals go on and on about how they must protect some “sweet and innocent” anime character — from what, God only knows — I can’t help but try and picture how their fantasies would actually play out in real life. Unfortunately, a grown adult — especially a man — probably wouldn’t look too good next to a tiny, innocent girl who looks and sounds like she’s barely seven or eight years old. Turning the main character into a pretty, teenaged girl is the only way you can frame this scenario with the least amount of controversy. From the distance, they almost look like loving sisters. I’m told, however, that this is ostensibly a horror story. Maybe so, but who’s the real monster in our narrative? This obfuscation is the heart of Happy Sugar Life‘s dilemma.
More specifically, Satou isn’t the only fucked up individual in this narrative. Everything would be just fine if only the world was fair and kind to our heroine. All she wants to do is earn an honest living so that she can come home every night to her doting Shio. Unfortunately, not only is her current manager stiffing her out of her overtime pay, the jealous and vindictive woman is also guilty of raping and kidnapping Taiyo, one of the male employees — the same guy who had previously confessed his love to Satou. There’s no doubt in my mind that the insanity will only escalate from here. As the story progresses, our heroine will no doubt encounter more and more immoral creatures, each more depraved than the last. Some of them, like our manager, will even be comically proud of their misdeeds, furthering the idea that Satou is not that bad compared to these individuals. And as such, her hand will be forced. She will have to do what she has to do in order to protect Shio from the harsh realities of the world. And there’s a certain danger in that sort of thinking — the idea that it simply had to be this way. There was no other choice. If everyone would just leave Satou and Shio alone, they’d be happy and there’d be no trouble to deal with. Everyone would be able to go on their merry way, so why are others trying so hard to get in the way of their happiness?
I guess that’s my biggest qualm with this narrative. It seemingly accepts that Satou is sick, but at the same time, it also wants to assert that others can be or often are even worse.
Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King Ep. 1
Don’t ask me to explain what’s going on in this anime or why it has such a redundant title. This opening episode leaves the viewers with a billion questions and almost no answers. There’s just a dearth of information, so we can’t help but find ourselves as clueless as the main character. You almost can’t judge it at all until the story develops a little further. Almost. In fact, the episode begins with a huge battle between a ton of individuals over a ruined landscape. Other than the obvious main characters, I won’t remember any of their faces or whose side they’re on. As such, when you cram this many unintroduced characters into one scene, it always feels like a waste. I’m bound to forget what happens here, because I have no real reason to recall any of it. Who’s honestly going to go back to the first few minutes of the first episodes to finally understand what was going on? Plus, this sequence is chockful of quality action. Anyways, it finally ends shortly after these two individuals confront each other with a giant moon behind them as a backdrop. As previously mentioned, they are obviously the main characters in this story. The girl might be an antagonist, though. For now, at least.
After the OP, the story finally decides to start from the very beginning, but things don’t stay peaceful for long. We are introduced to Chihiro, the hero of the story. He has a talent with kendo, but he also likes to read Shakespeare’s plays in his spare time. What a sophisticated young man. On this fateful day, however, that mysterious girl from the opening sequence appears to be stalking our hero. As soon as he gets to his college campus, an obnoxious ringing sound can be heard throughout the entire metropolis. Every living creature is affected — even cute, little birds and obnoxious schoolchildren. Before you know it, the entire population of Tokyo has fallen unconscious. After a cryptic dream sequence full of quotes from Shakespeare, Chihiro awakens to find the city enveloped in a red mist. A strange tree has also taken root in some of the skyscrapers. Last but not least, our hero’s been asleep for five months. Most people apparently woke up in a week (if the whole city was asleep for at least a week, these individuals survived without water?!), but not him. The fact that he can walk and fight after being in a coma for five whole months is proof enough that he’s special. I wonder why, though. What makes him so great? Then when he tries to leave the hospital, he is confronted by a nosy reporter who mentions something about an incident from 13 years ago. So many questions to answer!
All Chihiro wants for now is to return to normalcy, but not so fast, my friend! When he returns to his home, another persistently annoying sound can be heard. This time, it’s apparent that these debilitating noises are man-made. Not only that, the mysterious girl is back. Did she just sit around and wait for him for the past five months? I guess so! But before he can do anything about it, his best friend Kotetsu’s home suddenly blows up. Once the dust settles, Chihiro and his buddy discover that the latter’s father has been turned into a giant, murderous ogre. And in the middle of the ensuing melee, our main character awakens to a special power (of course). And that’s where the episode ends. These individuals obviously want Chihiro’s powers, and they’ve gone to extreme lengths to unlock it. But to what end is anybody’s guess. When you do an episode like this, you have to hope that you’ve done enough to hook the viewers. Ideally, we should be chomping at the bit for more info. But honestly, if I wasn’t running an anime blog, I don’t think I’d really give Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King another shot. It feels like all too typical; it feels like something you’d expect to get from anime every other season.
Oof, that’s gonna leave a scar.
Anyways, I tried watching Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight, but the first ten minutes bored me too much to keep on truckin’. The terrible subs didn’t help either. That’s it for me today. Back to Civilization V and reruns of Top Chef.