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Handy
8:08 AM on 02.20.2011

So...you’ve all seen it. The show everyone’s talking about. The program that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongues. The one that’s lit a fire in the hearts of our fair community and inspired discussion across the whole industry. Completely genre subverting and always unpredictable, I am of course talking about Rio: Rainbow Gate.










Ok no seriously, everyone’s talking about Madoka Magica, and over the last while we’ve all learned that watching the show is only half the experience, the whole comes from discussing and theorizing about what just happened and what we think will happen next. Enter Speculation Sunday, my attempt at getting the Japanator community together to throw out whatever wild theories we can come up with as the show goes on. A show of this nature only comes along once in a while and we only get one chance to experience it like this on a week to week basis, so read on and join in on the comments section so we can all speculate, anticipate and masterb–ehhh talk about the show...

And obviously spoilers lay in wait ahead.

So what happened this week? Kyubei acts like a creeper (again), Kyouko gets some back story, and Sayaka has a mental breakdown...about three times. Fun! So we start off with Kyubei explaining why he didn’t tell the girls about separating their souls from their bodies, basically “you didn’t ask”, and then proceeds to demonstrate why it needs to be done by putting Sayaka through the agony of being impaled. He then says that body and soul can be separated even further, to the point where she’d feel no pain at all, but it’s probably not the best idea. You’d think at this point someone would start asking other questions like what’s his stake in all this or who is he working for (if anybody).



At this point common sense should tell you to not let Kyubiei touch your soul.


Later she spends some time with Kouyko where we get some insight into why she’s always chomping down on something, why she only looks out for herself, and what she wished for through the world’s most depressing stick puppets. She then tells Sayaka that she should come around to her way of thinking, Sayaka refuses, and Kouyko is left to rage-eat some apples, which I guess is healthy, I’d have gone straight to comfort food like ice cream. I guess if you want to get all “deep” there was a lot of biblical imagery in this part of the show along with Kouyko “tempting” Sayaka with the apple, even though that seemed much more like an offer of friendship to me.

So the upbeat Sayaka was having a pretty rough day, at which point Urobuchi and Shinbo decided “No, this isn’t enough, we must break her” Probably while throwing more cats onto the fire because it was getting a bit cold. On the way to school we learn that Kyosuke (violin-guy) is back in school and afterwards Hitomi (Madoka and Sayaka’s other friend) calls Sayaka out for a chat in which she tells her that she’s holding a torch for Kyosuke as well, and that Sayaka has one day to confess to him before she does. Then she runs into Madoka on the way to fight her first witch and breaks into tears because she was thinking that if she had let Hitomi drink the bleach back in episode 4 then she wouldn’t have this problem.



Stick puppets are supposed to be full of joy and whimsy!


And finally we see the witch fight taking place in crazy-contrast-silhouette-land this time. Sayaka’s having a hard time, Kouyko steps in to try and help, Sayaka refuses again and goes all Terminator on the witch, getting badly beaten but continuing to advance. In the end, we see Sayaka hacking away at the witch while laughing, still being attacked by snakes (more biblical references) with a big slasher smile on her face, saying “you’re right, it doesn’t hurt this way” implying that she’s gone ahead with further separating her soul.


Ugh, I didn’t want to go so far into recapping what happened this week, we’ve already got staff and cbloggers doing a better job of that, but this episode was less about the usual mystery and plot twists and more about slowly building up to a twist while slowly breaking down a character. But hey, we’ve still got lots to work with, most immediately, what will Sayaka be like next week? Will she be completely reckless and try to get Kyosuke in her snare in whatever way she can, be it through magic or bitchy rumours, maybe even threaten Hitomi? Or will she be emotionally dead, not even caring about him anymore, especially if the whole not feeling anything thing extends past just her body.





Either way, there’s been a big change with Sayaka, and something is going to have to break her out of it, be it death, Madoka making a contract, or maybe even Kouyko sacrificing herself (I really hope it’s not that last one, she’s grown on me). Plenty of other things are up in the air too, Kyubei is seeming less evil, that’s not to say less creepy, and more like a being of pure logic, he doesn’t answer questions that aren’t asked and he doesn’t understand why people are upset about the whole soul thing, I’m thinking he’s just a tool made by someone or something evil. Then again, he did eat a grief seed with a mouth on his back. Then there’s the ever popular Homura is from the future theory.



"Nom"


But remember, Speculation Sunday is all about you! What do you think? Let’s hear your ideas. Do you think Madoka will ever make a contract? Did you find that part where Kuybei literally ate grief a bit unsettling? Do you find it a bit strange that two shows managed to be about Magical Girl Zombies this season? Frankly all I care about is that Kouyko doesn’t get killed off anytime soon, I really like that character.

In fact, I think she’s...

*scans room for fans*

...even better than Mami.

There, I said it, and I don-AH! What are doing here man? W-what are you doing with those? Where did you even get fourteen flintlock rifles? C’mon I think Mami was great, don’t lose your head. NO WAIT! That was just a poor choice of words! Don’t do it! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO–
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It’s 2011 now, and you know what that means, looking to the future, seeking out new and interesting experiences, making a resolution to better ourselves...



No! It means looking back at the last year and judging everything in a purely subjective hobby, and then fighting with anyone who doesn’t agree with you. And since nobody else here had this idea I’ve taken it upon myself to bring you the Best of 2010 Awards, but enough of these formalities, pull up a chair and grab a drink because it’s time to announce the winners of the totally legitimate and serious categories!

Best character who’s name you can’t remember.

Battleaxe guy.

From: Angel Beats.



Oh Battleaxe Guy, we hardly knew ye. In fact, that’s the point of this award. We barely know anything about you, what kind of trauma or unfinished business did you have? Why were you so pissed off all the time? Why did you carry a god damned battleaxe everywhere you went? These are questions we’ll never know the answers to, but your obstinate personality, the fact that you killed the main character 100 times with your first appearance, and your bitchin’ train impression in the special episode have left you a place in our hearts.

We’ll always remember you, even if we can’t remember your name.


Best New Couple.

Izaya and Shizuo.

From: Durarara!



Sometimes we hurt the ones we love the most, other times we rip vending machines out of the ground and throw them at the ones we love the most. They say love is pain and if that’s true then Shizuo and Izaya have the most intense burning love we’ve seen this year. Sure it might seem like they hate each other with a burning passion but we can see Izaya is clearly interested and Shizuo is just being all tsun-tsun , and we’ll all be waiting for them to do the horizontal honka-donk is season two.


Best meme.

Glorio.






Best Engrish.

Giant Killing



“Do you rike fiz and cheps? I know a prace nearby that seels good and cheep fiz and cheps.”

Ok, I understand that it’s hard enough to voice a character in a foreign language, and to voice one in a foreign language and then speak in a different foreign accent on top of that, of course it’s not going to sound quite right. I understand, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still find it funny. Having a Japanese man speak English in a French accent is a beautiful mess, Giant Killing’s English is like a broken tile being made into a mosaic – it’s not what it’s supposed to be but it’s still enjoyable on a different level.


Special Award for great advancements in the field of moe.

Moe Nagato.






Best character who deserved a better show.

Misaki.

From: Kaichou wa Maid-sama!



What’s this? A show with a strong female lead who works real hard to prove that women deserve just as much respect as the men? Great! Oh, wait...she works in a maid cafe....and that guy is better at everything she does without even trying.....and she’s falling for him......and 80% of the men have pinned her to a wall or sexually assaulted her in some way.......and she does nothing every time........and that guy always has to rescue her.

Despite what’s mentioned above, Misaki really is a strong independent and entertaining character who deserves her own show, even more so for what she represents in a hobby that has more than its fill of panty shots and giant meat balloons with bodies attached, it’s just a shame she got stuck in a genre where the women sit still and blush while the men “take charge”.


Best show that deserved a better character.

Oreimo



FUCK YOU, KIRINO! FUCK YOU AND YOUR CUTE LITTLE FANG! THIS SHOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT KURONEKO!


Best plot no one understands.

To Aru Majutsu no Index 2.



Ok so wait they’re working with the Roman Catholics to stop the bad guys from translating a book that no one has but then the nun attacked with an exploding wagon wheel and now the Roman Catholics are the bad guys and no one can translate the book anyway and then Touma punched that little girl and now it’s two episodes about Railgun side characters for some reason except Saten doesn’t exist and then Accelerator punched that girl in the face and now they’re in a city wide sports day for students with super powers and they need to chase a belly dancer to get a giant sword that looks like a cross except she doesn’t have it and it’s not a giant sword that looks like a cross it’s actually a giant cross (what a twist!) and now Touma is going to punch that girl in the face and this is only half way through the season!?!?!?!

And it’s still watchable?!?


Best Metrosexual Transformation Sequence.

Star Driver



That pose. Dazzling the stage. The blond highlights. Those boots. Dear god those thigh high boots.

Fabulous.




Special Award for not being a show about teenagers and their stupid fucking problems.

Arakawa Under the Bridge.



This last year there were shows about fighting giant robots, there were shows about falling in love at Christmas, there were shows about a city full of science and magic, there were shows about S&M fetishists, there were shows about first contact with aliens, there were shows about being in a band, there were shows about the zombie apocalypse, there were shows about the afterlife, there were shows about writing manga, there were shows about many different themes and topics.

All of these shows, however, are also set in school, which meant they were full of “ohmygodthegirlIliketouchedmyhandwhatdoIdo*blush*” moments. Arakawa avoided this mine field and wins this award for showing that every anime doesn’t have to be set in a high school, it can be set under a bridge and star a bunch crazy homeless people and still be pretty decent.



Best incest.

Kiss x Sis.



I haven’t watched Kiss x Sis myself but Aquagaze assures me that it’s “the best thing Japan has done since Pearl Harbour”. I thought this was an incredibly offensive thing to say, especially on a site read mostly by Americans, but he just said “FUCK THAT, ONII-SAN!” and hung up....he also said that all complaints should be sent directly to him.



P.S. That totally happened...


Best use of bullet-time.

Saeko’s breasts.

From: Highschool of the Dead.



It was just....really good...cinematography, is all.

*cough*



Best imaginary motorcycle.

Izaya.

From: Durarara!



Ok, to be fair, there weren’t many nominees for this category but seeing Izaya ride an imaginary motorcycle and even go “Vroom, vroom” filled me with the type of joy usually reserved for the artificial sugar rush an eight year old gets when they hear the Ice-cream man.


Best everything of anything.

T.K.

From: Angel Beats.



T.K. is a man amongst men, he is the light that shows us a path in the darkness, he is the magnetic north of our moral compass, he is a beacon of hope in a world filled with doubt, moonwalking his way into our hearts weather we want him or not. Sure, we might not know....anything...about him, and sure, he only spoke in random phrases and out of context song quotes, but he showed us that when the chips are down and all hope is lost, you just gotta dance your troubles away.

Get chance and luck dear friend, get chance and luck.


And that’s 2010 in a demure and respectful nutshell. Do you have your own made up catego–ehh your own legitimate and serious categories? Sound off in the comments.

(I don’t have a Twitter account to link to so here’s some confusing Pokémon fanart instead.)
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Hey Japanatists.....ehh Japanatites? Japanatosians? What do we call ourselves again? Anyway hi guys, I’ve decided to try and get into blogging here more and since I most of the ideas that are rolling around in my head haven’t quite fully formed yet I thought I’d do one of those “Train of thought ” blogs just to try and get the gears moving again.


Besides more cblogs can’t hurt right? Especially since we lost one of our biggest contributors, I just hope he can bring his special brand of insanity to the front page with him.


Also, just to keep things interesting, almost every picture will have someone getting punched in the face.



Somehow Oreimo is way better than it has any right to be, I still can’t put my finger on what makes it so watchable. I’ve never heard of a show luring people into a false sense of insecurity before but I think that’s what Oreimo does, at first everyone thought it would be some icky incest riddled piece of trash but it’s turned out to be quite an enjoyable little slice of life show with insights into the otaku culture.


That’s not to say it’s perfect, it feels like it’s just skipping over huge events and topics like they’re nothing, like when their dad full-on punched Kyousuke in the face, sure he was saying some messed up stuff to cover for his sister but isn’t that still child abuse? And in the last few episodes we’ve learned that Kirino is interested in the more (ahem) “rated 18” material so doesn’t that make her a lesbian? Or at least a lesbian for 2D? Is that a thing? I feel sorry for Kyousuke, he’s got an abusive father, a bitch of a little sister and where was his mother when all face this punching action was going on?


Top-notch parenting there...

Speaking of Oriemo...

Is it me or is incest popping up everywhere? I mean, how in the hell does incest become a fad? I have a theory that maybe because of the low birth rates in Japan, more and more people are being born without siblings now, so when they see a brother and sister they just see two members of the opposite sex who live together and have been friends their whole life, and romanticise that idea without realising how icky it really is.


I’ve used the word “icky” twice so far in this blog. Clearly my vocabulary needs work.


Anyone else feel sorry for Kristina Pino when she recaps Bloody Curs in Annotated Anime every week? Seems like everybody was expecting it to be some sort cross between Boys Love and Escape from New York, which would have made for some great recaps, but apparently any BL is only implied and now she’s stuck with some action bromance thing.



I still consider myself new to anime, I don’t know the difference between SHAFT or GAINAX or BONES, or why I have to write their names in all caps, but as far as I can tell GAINAX is the one people seem to respect and expect the most from, that’s why I’m a bit confused by Panty and Stocking. Now, I’ve only been dipping in and out, but I read reviews where people say it’s dealing with a theme of vices and such, but when I watch it all I can see is a gross out show, I think maybe people are reading into it too much, and believe me, I know a thing or two about reading into things too much. I don’t know, it feels a little like The Kings New Clothes, I mean sure P&S deals with the theme of vices every week, but you know, Scooby Doo dealt with the theme of real estate fraud every week too.


Ok calling it The Kings New Clothes was a bit of a heavy phrase, if you enjoy it and see all that stuff then good for you, you’re probably just smarter than me.



Star Driver is another show I’ve been dropping in and out off, I can’t quite get into a show about a perfect guy who’s brilliant at everything and all the girls are in love with him and he always wins every fight, where’s the fun in that? Maybe I’m going in with the wrong mindset, maybe I should just roll with it.



Ok this is starting to turn into me just bitching about everything so let’s talk about something positive, Bakuman! I am loving Bakuman, I can understand some people saying it’s following the manga a little too closely but I’ve never read it so everything’s fresh to me. Even when episodes are nothing but one big strategy meeting I’m still interested. I also love that even though the pacing is so slow and methodical everybody still feels the need to run everywhere at full sprint.


I’m enjoying Index as well despite its plot...problems. I’d say plot holes but that implies there’s enough pieces solid, connected plot to have a hole in it. Index is more like a plot popcorn necklace, little pieces of plot all loosely connected but never really forming a cohesive whole. Things happen, characters we like entertain us, and then Touma punches someone with a glass jaw. Speaking of which, have the bad guys ever thought of sending someone who could maybe take a punch from a teenager? They might have better luck with that.


Actually, let’s look at everyone Touma’s managed to best so far, there was...


The guy who’d never been hit in his entire life.


The scrawny teenager.


The middle aged woman.


The distracted gypsy.


And a 4ft tall nun.


What a hero folks! Will he add to his repertoire and hit the lady with Stab Sword? Will he start calling his arm Punch Fist? Only time will tell.


Well I’m about out of steam now, we might not have accomplished much here, but hey, we got some stuff off our chests, we learned a little bit about each other, and we might have set the world record for the most amount of question marks in a single blog. And in the end I think we helped each oth-OH NO WAIT I FORGOT ABOUT WHEN ACCELERATOR PUNCHED THAT GIRL RIGHT IN THE FACE THAT WAS SO FUCKIN’ BOSS!


Hitting little girls in the face makes you a big man!
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We all know Durarara is several types of awesome, but with only a handful of episodes left and the last two focused on exposition it’s about time they got down to business. So with this month’s monthly musing in mind I decided to doctor up some anime by cutting up Durarara and sewing back together how I see fit like some kind of anime Frankenstein’s monster. So how do we take the elements of the show that we have so far and twist it into something even more incredible? Well, the answer is quite simple......


MOAR SHIZUO!!!


That’s right, you take everybody’s favourite thing about the show and over saturate them with it! How you ask? Well, after Anri finds out that Kida is head of the yellow scarves and Celty saves her she realises that there’ll be a lot of misunderstandings and that a three way war is coming. She prepares for the upcoming conflict by using the Saika blade to spread her influence across Ikebukuro trying to get as many people on her side as possible, then she remembers how Shizuo singlehandedly beat all the Saika children last time, so she resolves to take him over in order to ensure her survival.


She sends all the slashers out to take over Shizuo’s mind and even gets involved in the fight, stabbing Shizuo herself. But something goes horribly wrong, contact with the mother blade causes Shizuo’s awesomeness to infect Saika, soon every slasher is under the control of the power of GARtending. The Shizuo clones run rampage through the city, spreading their influence everywhere. The men become Shizuo, the women become Shizuo, even the children become Shizuo.....



The next morning Izaya wakes up to find that the pieces on his weird-board-game-thing have all become queens, confused and slightly aroused by this development he hops on his invisible motorcycle, goes “Vroom Vroom” and takes off into the city to see what’s going on. He heads through Ikebukuro as fast as he can, dodging vending machines left and right as he realises the severity of the situation, the army has been called in to deal with the flood of Shizuos. But to no avail, the army’s tanks and helicopters cannot resist the barrage of vending machines, litter bins, post-boxes and childrens slides that are assaulting them, even Japans strongest military force cannot stand up to Saika-Shizuo.....



Izaya rides his invisible bike through town trying to find someone who is still themselves, but everyone’s been infected. Mikado and Kida – gang leader Shizuos, Anri – maganekko Shizuo, Celty – headless Shizuo, Celty’s head – bodyless Shizuo, Simon – black Russian Shizuo, Kadota – nice hat Shizuo, Erika – otaku Shizuo, Walker – petrol bomb throwing otaku Shizuo, Togusa – van loving Shizuo, Shinra – Dr. Shizuo, Shinra’s dad – Dr. Shizuo sr., Namie and Seiji – incest Shizuo. Nobody is safe.


He still has fun going from person to person though.

Eventually Shizuo’s influence spreads to other shows, purgatory Shizuo takes over Angel Beats, homeless Shizuo takes over Arakawa Under a Bridge, moe Shizuo takes over K-On!!, you don’t want to know which Shizuo took over B Gata H Kei, and even Yotsuba chants “Yaaaannndaaaaaaa” after throwing her yotsubox at him. Finally Izaya, his plans shot, comes to realise that he can no longer win against this influx of awesomeness and decides to lay down his arms and accept Shizuos love....



NO NOT LIKE THAT!!!

P.S. I guess this counts as an intro blog.......Hi, I’m Handy, you might have seen me around Destructoid (who am I kidding, no you didn’t). Anyway I’m fairly new to this whole anime thing but I’ve been lurking around Japanator for a while now and thought It was a pretty cool place, so I thought I’d hop in and try to contribute.
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