How does one begin to describe a show that gives us space vampire illuminati wizards in the first ten seconds? Yes, Valvrave is back to liberate us from narrative constraints like story structure, likable characters, and common sense.
After a quick reminder that this show seriously has space vampire illuminati wizards we pick up at last season’s cliff-hanger, in which Cain hijacked the dormant Valvrave with his wizard powers and a magic lemon. After a quick display of power Haruto is put on the back foot (or rather, one foot) and it’s here where Valvrave exhibits it’s prowess in the "make it up as you go along" school of writing, as a giant, conveniently robot sized button appears from the ground, which when pressed affixes a spare Unit 03 arm to his Valvrave.
Now, I try not to nitpick, especially when it comes to Valvrave, the show doesn’t so much have plot holes as it is one giant plot chasm with a rickety plank set across it, but this one moment just begs so many questions. Why did the giant button appear out of nowhere? Since when do the incredibly specialized Valvraves have interchangeable parts? Haruto’s Valvrave already had an arm, what did this thing even attach to? And if you needed a spare arm how would you even push the button in the first place? But alas, Valvrave cares not for your logic, Valvrave only feeds on your confusion, Valvrave will end this conflict with allusions to mecha AI incest, because no anime is safe from incest anymore.
Two months pass as Module 77 settles on the neutral ground of the moon, and Saki, proving once again to be the worst person in the world, uses the conflict to release a new album and further her career, while I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt I really don’t see “Cheer up!” “Call me baby” and “Kiss a girl” as songs designed to bring their bloody conflict into the public eye. But then who’d want to do that when there’s energy drinks to sell! That’s right, in a move that would put Xbox One and Mountain Dew to shame, the Valvraves are now sporting Beast High sponsorship logos, sure, it’s the equivalent to sending a Doritos branded tank to Iraq, but what’s a little war profiteering in the wake of Saki’s ambitions for fame?
”Only Beast High can give me the energy I need to murder legions of soldiers with inferior equipment!"
Elsewhere, we learn that the Valvraves are powered by runes, sub-subatomic particles that all information is comprised of. For some reason (I’m not even going to bother) this means Haruto is the battery for all the Valvraves, if he doesn’t get his information fix, the Valvraves cease to work, meaning his vampire freakout cravings must be satiated if they want to keep fighting. But Haruto doesn’t want to hurt anyone, except, you know, all those people he’s killed, and decides that he’ll only be feeding on L-Elf, partially because he’s the only one who can take the burden, but mostly because those yaoi doujins aren’t gonna write themselves.
Finally, the show closes with some foreshadowing that the space vampire illuminati wizards are working on their own mass produced Valvrave knock-offs, a welcome change, hopefully this and the suggested move to earth will breathe new life into the action, seeing as the entirety of last season was spend decimating mooks in the expanse of space.
Not that it matters now, we’ve got hot vampire on elf action to focus on.
Whether it’s through cringing or facepalming, Valvrave is still a show that will be watched from between your fingers. It is trainwreck television at its worst/best, its sheer stupidity is only eclipsed by the fact that it takes itself even remotely seriously, and, not unlike their awful cream and coffee metaphor, that unique combination is the main reason to watch Valvrave.
And did I mention they have space vampire illuminati wizards?
So...youâ€™ve all seen it. The show everyoneâ€™s talking about. The program thatâ€™s on the tip of everyoneâ€™s tongues. The one thatâ€™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, everyoneâ€™s talking about Madoka Magica, and over the last while weâ€™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 masterbâ€“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 didnâ€™t tell the girls about separating their souls from their bodies, basically â€śyou didnâ€™t askâ€ť, 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 sheâ€™d feel no pain at all, but itâ€™s probably not the best idea. Youâ€™d think at this point someone would start asking other questions like whatâ€™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 sheâ€™s always chomping down on something, why she only looks out for herself, and what she wished for through the worldâ€™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, Iâ€™d have gone straight to comfort food like ice cream. I guess if you want to get all â€śdeepâ€ť there was a lot of biblical imagery in this part of the show along with Kouyko â€śtemptingâ€ť 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 â€śNo, this isnâ€™t enough, we must break herâ€ť 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 Sayakaâ€™s other friend) calls Sayaka out for a chat in which she tells her that sheâ€™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 wouldnâ€™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. Sayakaâ€™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 â€śyouâ€™re right, it doesnâ€™t hurt this wayâ€ť implying that sheâ€™s gone ahead with further separating her soul.
Ugh, I didnâ€™t want to go so far into recapping what happened this week, weâ€™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, weâ€™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, thereâ€™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 itâ€™s not that last one, sheâ€™s grown on me). Plenty of other things are up in the air too, Kyubei is seeming less evil, thatâ€™s not to say less creepy, and more like a being of pure logic, he doesnâ€™t answer questions that arenâ€™t asked and he doesnâ€™t understand why people are upset about the whole soul thing, Iâ€™m thinking heâ€™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 thereâ€™s the ever popular Homura is from the future theory.
But remember, Speculation Sunday is all about you! What do you think? Letâ€™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 doesnâ€™t get killed off anytime soon, I really like that character.
In fact, I think sheâ€™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? Câ€™mon I think Mami was great, donâ€™t lose your head. NO WAIT! That was just a poor choice of words! Donâ€™t do it! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOâ€“
Itâ€™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 doesnâ€™t agree with you. And since nobodyelseherehadthisidea Iâ€™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 itâ€™s time to announce the winners of the totally legitimate and serious categories!
Best character whoâ€™s name you canâ€™t remember.
From: Angel Beats.
Oh Battleaxe Guy, we hardly knew ye. In fact, thatâ€™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 weâ€™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 bitchinâ€™ train impression in the special episode have left you a place in our hearts.
Weâ€™ll always remember you, even if we canâ€™t remember your name.
Best New Couple.
Izaya and Shizuo.
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 thatâ€™s true then Shizuo and Izaya have the most intense burning love weâ€™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 weâ€™ll all be waiting for them to do the horizontal honka-donk is season two.
â€śDo you rike fiz and cheps? I know a prace nearby that seels good and cheep fiz and cheps.â€ť
Ok, I understand that itâ€™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 itâ€™s not going to sound quite right. I understand, but that doesnâ€™t mean I wonâ€™t still find it funny. Having a Japanese man speak English in a French accent is a beautiful mess, Giant Killingâ€™s English is like a broken tile being made into a mosaic â€“ itâ€™s not what itâ€™s supposed to be but itâ€™s still enjoyable on a different level.
Special Award for great advancements in the field of moe.
Best character who deserved a better show.
From: Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
Whatâ€™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 sheâ€™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 whatâ€™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, itâ€™s just a shame she got stuck in a genre where the women sit still and blush while the men â€śtake chargeâ€ť.
Best show that deserved a better character.
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 theyâ€™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 itâ€™s two episodes about Railgun side characters for some reason except Saten doesnâ€™t exist and then Accelerator punched that girl in the face and now theyâ€™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 doesnâ€™t have it and itâ€™s not a giant sword that looks like a cross itâ€™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 itâ€™s still watchable?!?
Best Metrosexual Transformation Sequence.
That pose. Dazzling the stage. The blond highlights. Those boots. Dear god those thigh high boots.
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 â€śohmygodthegirlIliketouchedmyhandwhatdoIdo*blush*â€ť moments. Arakawa avoided this mine field and wins this award for showing that every anime doesnâ€™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.
Kiss x Sis.
I havenâ€™t watched Kiss x Sis myself but Aquagaze assures me that itâ€™s â€śthe best thing Japan has done since Pearl Harbourâ€ť. I thought this was an incredibly offensive thing to say, especially on a site read mostly by Americans, but he just said â€śFUCK THAT, ONII-SAN!â€ť 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.
From: Highschool of the Dead.
It was just....really good...cinematography, is all.
Best imaginary motorcycle.
Ok, to be fair, there werenâ€™t many nominees for this category but seeing Izaya ride an imaginary motorcycle and even go â€śVroom, vroomâ€ť 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.
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 thatâ€™s 2010 in a demure and respectful nutshell. Do you have your own made up categoâ€“ehh your own legitimate and serious categories? Sound off in the comments.
Hey Japanatists.....ehh Japanatites? Japanatosians? What do we call ourselves again? Anyway hi guys, Iâ€™ve decided to try and get into blogging here more and since I most of the ideas that are rolling around in my head havenâ€™t quite fully formed yet I thought Iâ€™d do one of those â€śTrain of thought â€ť blogs just to try and get the gears moving again.
Besides more cblogs canâ€™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 canâ€™t put my finger on what makes it so watchable. Iâ€™ve never heard of a show luring people into a false sense of insecurity before but I think thatâ€™s what Oreimo does, at first everyone thought it would be some icky incest riddled piece of trash but itâ€™s turned out to be quite an enjoyable little slice of life show with insights into the otaku culture.
Thatâ€™s not to say itâ€™s perfect, it feels like itâ€™s just skipping over huge events and topics like theyâ€™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 isnâ€™t that still child abuse? And in the last few episodes weâ€™ve learned that Kirino is interested in the more (ahem) â€śrated 18â€ť material so doesnâ€™t that make her a lesbian? Or at least a lesbian for 2D? Is that a thing? I feel sorry for Kyousuke, heâ€™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.
Iâ€™ve used the word â€śickyâ€ť 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 sheâ€™s stuck with some action bromance thing.
I still consider myself new to anime, I donâ€™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, thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m a bit confused by Panty and Stocking. Now, Iâ€™ve only been dipping in and out, but I read reviews where people say itâ€™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 donâ€™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, youâ€™re probably just smarter than me.
Star Driver is another show Iâ€™ve been dropping in and out off, I canâ€™t quite get into a show about a perfect guy whoâ€™s brilliant at everything and all the girls are in love with him and he always wins every fight, whereâ€™s the fun in that? Maybe Iâ€™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 letâ€™s talk about something positive, Bakuman! I am loving Bakuman, I can understand some people saying itâ€™s following the manga a little too closely but Iâ€™ve never read it so everythingâ€™s fresh to me. Even when episodes are nothing but one big strategy meeting Iâ€™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.
Iâ€™m enjoying Index as well despite its plot...problems. Iâ€™d say plot holes but that implies thereâ€™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, letâ€™s look at everyone Toumaâ€™s managed to best so far, there was...
The guy whoâ€™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 Iâ€™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 FUCKINâ€™ BOSS!
Hitting little girls in the face makes you a big man!
We all know Durarara is several types of awesome, but with only a handful of episodes left and the last two focused on exposition itâ€™s about time they got down to business. So with this monthâ€™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 Frankensteinâ€™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......
Thatâ€™s right, you take everybodyâ€™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 thereâ€™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 Shizuoâ€™s mind and even gets involved in the fight, stabbing Shizuo herself. But something goes horribly wrong, contact with the mother blade causes Shizuoâ€™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 â€śVroom Vroomâ€ť and takes off into the city to see whatâ€™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 armyâ€™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 everyoneâ€™s been infected. Mikado and Kida â€“ gang leader Shizuos, Anri â€“ maganekko Shizuo, Celty â€“ headless Shizuo, Celtyâ€™s head â€“ bodyless Shizuo, Simon â€“ black Russian Shizuo, Kadota â€“ nice hat Shizuo, Erika â€“ otaku Shizuo, Walker â€“ petrol bomb throwing otaku Shizuo, Togusa â€“ van loving Shizuo, Shinra â€“ Dr. Shizuo, Shinraâ€™s dad â€“ Dr. Shizuo sr., Namie and Seiji â€“ incest Shizuo. Nobody is safe.
He still has fun going from person to person though.
Eventually Shizuoâ€™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 donâ€™t want to know which Shizuo took over B Gata H Kei, and even Yotsuba chants â€śYaaaannndaaaaaaaâ€ť 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, Iâ€™m Handy, you might have seen me around Destructoid (who am I kidding, no you didnâ€™t). Anyway Iâ€™m fairly new to this whole anime thing but Iâ€™ve been lurking around Japanator for a while now and thought It was a pretty cool place, so I thought Iâ€™d hop in and try to contribute.