Yes people, there is a Monthly Musing for May! Don't you forget it. At first I thought of Doctoring Up just one anime, but since I'm the only one so far, popping this Monthly Musing cherry, I might as well go all out and fix three genres at once.
MAGICAL GIRLS? WHERE ARE MY MAGICAL BOYS?
Patients: Jewelpet, Lilpri
Ailment: Disturbingly cute girly tumors
Cure:Death and Destruction with Manly Magic!
Magical girls are a staple in the anime industry. The genre is deeply rooted and can always count on a devoted following consisting of both creepy otaku and innocent little girls. Outside of those parameters, it's hard to find a bigger audience for such shows though. We need to change things up a little and revolutionise the magical girls genre.
First off, the magical girls need to go. It's much too boring and predictable. What we really need right now, is magical boys. Muscular macho men waving their wand around and causing magic to happen. Yes, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The burly men fly through the sky just like ordinary magical girls, sparkles behind them and everything. They search for evildoers in order to deliver some justice and restore order in the world. Instead of a longwinded transformation sequence, they can just pull their pants down and whip out their wand, followed by a cute catchphrase and a charming wink. What happens after that is up to the director, but I'm open for any ideas, as long as everyone is happy in the end.
After a hard day's work, the magical boys return home to their typical middle class families, teaching their little daughters how to drink beer and roast sausages LIKE A MAN.
SPORTS AND EXISTENTIALISM
Patients: Giant Killing, Major, Big Windup
Ailment: Predictablility syndrome
Cure:Twists & Horror influences
The problem with sports anime is that you're always sure of one thing: They're going to win. The main character is probably not going to win immediately (in fact, he/she usually starts as an amateur) but eventually, when the shit hits the fan, the main character will win big time. In other genres, the directors are more often willing to take a few risks, introduce a few big plot twists and make sure that the ending isn't as clear-cut.
I suggest turning things on its head by borrowing heavily from Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. The main character starts out as a child prodigy in his particular sport. He's picked up by a big club and plays outstandingly, despite his young age. Critics and insiders all tip him as one of the future greats within the sport.
Then, at episode 4 or so, just when you've gotten used to the cast, the main character suffers a heavy injury that sets him back immensely. Let's say, he breaks his leg in 63 places. Not willing to accept his fate, he frantically works his ass off in order to revalidate from the injury and return to professional sport. Despite his efforts, the revalidation is to no avail. He can eventually walk again, but sporting is out of the question. He'll never be able to do the one thing he loves most in life.
Episode 12-26 are just about him being really depressed and crying like a baby.
FANSERVICE? THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF YOUR FANSERVICE
Patients: Ikkitousen, B gata H kei, Kiss x Sis
Cure: A healthy dose of realism
These anime series are sending out the wrong message. Do we want to teach our children that it doesn't matter how slutty they are? That men will never act on their sexual urges or take advantage of them? No. Children need to be educated: I suggest re-releasing the following anime series on Blu-Ray with these changes:
Ikkitousen: The ladies from Ikkitousen end up in a fight, as per usual. Unfortunately, their boobs are so big that the balance of the human body is distorted. The ladies fall flat on their face and are unable to get up due to a severe case of acute hernia. They spend the rest of their lives a hospital bed. From this point onwards the show is a dark comedy, making fun of their misfortune. The "slapstick" element in the comedy consists of a doctor that walks past every 2 minutes and punches a random lady in the gut. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!
B gata H kei: If you want to have sex with 100 men, and you actively try to pursue that goal, you will succeed. Halfway through episode 1, Yamada reaches her goal, as she is violently gangraped in an alley by 99 men and a stray cat. This traumatic experience throws the rest of her life off the rails. She suffers permanent mental damage, completely shuts herself in and spends the rest of her life in a mental hospital. She never speaks again after the gangbang. Episode 3-12 depict Yamada as an 80 year old pile of misery, still in the same mental hospital.
Kiss x Sis: In my version, Keita is not a total douche. He bones the shit out of his two sisters. Initially he enjoys the intimacy, but as the show progresses, Keita finds out that his father is abusing the two sisters. Furthermore, both Ako and Riko become pregnant. He kills his father, runs away from home with his two sisters and vows to change his life. With his his two sisters, but without and diploma or degree, he moves to Pennsylvania and starts an Amish settlement.
Okay, so maybe I'm stretching it a bit in the title. Funimation is a cool company. I don't have any issues with the company itself. I have issues with its website and how they treat non american visitors.
It's about time I did a rant about this goddamn page:
That's the page I'm redirected to when I try to visit Funimation.com... For the longest time, I thought that was funimation's actual website. I thought funimation just didn't have an own website, and didn't put much thought into it. Stupid of me, I know. Eventually, about two years after I first visited the website, I overheard some people saying that Funimation streamed anime series. How strange, I thought. I guess that means Funimation has a website after all. Let's surf!
Alas, I reached the same stupid page. The website's design looks like it's at least 10 years old. It uses a flash element for no particular reason and generally makes my webdesigner blood boil, I wouldn't be surprised if it truly is a decade old. But let's move on. Let's set aside the webdesign nonsense. Let's start reading what's on the site. Maybe those awesome streaming anime series are hidden behind a button or two.
Ah, well that must be it. Visit Funimation's Consumer Site. Exactly what I was looking for. Strange that they redirect to this page as a splash page, but whatever. At last I'll be able to see what Funimation has to offer. Wrong! The link leads to Funimation.com, which redirects to the same old page.
Let's try this link in the bottom left then. No idea why they'd incorporate two links to the same thing, but it's worth a try. Nope! Doesn't work either.
Okay Funimation, I get it. You restrict your access to North America? That's fine. I can understand this decision. All I ask for is a bit of clarity. Let me know that I can't visit your site. Create a special site for people like me. Maybe it won't have streaming, but it could definately offer more information than the current bullshit Navarra page.
Or otherwise, redirect me to a page on Funimation.com that tells me the access is restricted and I'm not welcome. Don't redirect me to your parent company I don't give a fuck about.
If you can't even do that. If you refuse to bring me to any official Funimation website of any calibre, the very least you could do would be a simple redirection message. "You're being redirected to Navarre.com, we don't like your kind around here." That simple sentence would've saved me two years of confusion.
So why am I bringing this rant up now? Here's why: Funimation is wasting its advertising money on me. WHY DO THEY EVEN BOTHER! Every ad I click on Japanator is going to lead me to that goddamn redirected page on Navarre.com! Seriously, I cannot wrap my head around this. Why do I have to see all these ads that say CLICK HERE CLICK HERE if they lead me to nowhere in particular.
And that's why I think Funimation is run by a bunch of incompetent narrowminded chimps.
"You should be watching". Gee, thanks for rubbing it in. Assholes.
Over the years, I must have seen hundreds of anime series that fall under the banner "romantic comedy". Because there are so many shows within this genre, it's tempting to borrow alot of elements from succesful rom-coms of the past. Sometimes it's not a bad thing to borrow. After all, you can learn alot from successes of the past. However, when you borrow too much, the show becomes formulaic and bland. If you create alot of such shows, the genre becomes stale, and the ball will keep rolling and rolling from there, dragging the entire anime industry down with it.
That's the state of romantic comedy today. There are still a few charming shows here and there, but mostly the genre is filled with meritless trite like Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaō, KissxSis and Mayoi Neko Overrun. Tsundere here, pantyshot there, throw in a few awkward sexual situations and BOOM! You've got a romantic comedy.
Here's the bright side though: This depressing situation makes series like Arakawa Under the Bridge all the more appealing. It's a breath of fresh air for a genre that has been resting on the same ideas for god knows how long. Arakawa Under the Bridge goes above and beyond the call of duty, by adding a layer of sophistication. This anime is no longer just a romantic comedy, it's a tool that's being used to provoke thoughts and discussions on societal problems of morality, individualism, capitalism and humanitarianism.
The first few episodes have been about preconcieved notions and how they are wrong by design, because they're made to simplify the true nature of an individual or a situation. We constantly place individuals into boxes and try to jump to conclusions. This anime shows how such behavior invariably strips away the intended direction of a conversation.
I've picked out a few examples to illustrate this point:
WHAT SHE SAYS:
WHAT HE THINKS:
WHAT SHE MEANS: You're welcome in my home.
WHAT SHE SAYS:
WHAT HE THINKS:
WHAT SHE MEANS: I'm a beautiful woman whom you cannot even begin to understand just yet. Our standards and mindsets vastly differ.
(Note 1: Venus is the goddess of beauty, love and fertility. Plato argued that she inspires intellectual and spirital love as well as physical love.)
WHAT SHE MEANS: He is a lonely and secluded individual. An excentric person the likes of which you'll rarely meet.
Those are some examples from the first episode. We're already seeing some character development now, a few episodes in. When Ric asks about a big scar on someone's face, Nino stages an intervention.
You'd think that such complexity wouldn't mix with an entertainment show, but on the contrary! The comedy effortlessly cooperates with the deeper messages, and the scenes flow naturally despite their serious implications.
TOUCHE, BUT YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT
OH WOW THAT'S DEEP, BRO
SHED YOUR SOCIETAL SKIN, BEGIN LIFE ANEW
YOU'RE PROUD OF THE SOCIAL STANDING SURROUNDING YOUR NAME
YOU'RE STARTING OVER, AFTER ALL
MY MATERIAL POSESSIONS DICTATE THAT I SHOULD BE THE ALPHA MALE, ON TOP OF THE HIERARCHY
LOOK ON MY WORKS YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR.
Like any other decent romantic comedy, it's all about the distance between the main couple. In the beginning of the show there's alot of distance between them, and they grow closer towards eachother as the show progresses. The show even jokes about this element in romance stories. In episode 4, Nino and Ric try to develop their relationship by intentionally walking far apart from eachother and creating artificial tension. The actual distance between them is obviously not a measurable, physical distance. They don't seem to be aware of this, but it's interesting and amusing to see their relationship grow none the less.
Oh, and did I mention that the episode previews star a man in a kappa suit wrestling with fish? Holy crap!
And that, my friends, is why Arakawa Under the Bridge is awesome.
The comedy in this show may not always hit home, the romance may not always be satisfactory and the food-for-thought element may not be your thing. No matter, the package as a whole is absolutely delicious. And just remember, if you're not enjoying a certain joke or scene, think of Jesus' words:
VERDICT: BAD FIRST EPISODE, PROMISING SHOW I'm still undecided on this show... It's supposed to be a really depressing drama. I'm not sure if I'm up for that. It certainly shows potential, but the first episode itself did not win me over.
It has alot to do with the way the show progresses. The main characters are anally violated by a hitler-doctor and beaten to a pulp before we even get to know their names. Furthermore, we learn that they're short-tempered agressive hooligans who have beaten various people into a hospital before they got in this situation. That's not the ideal way to make me feel compassion with the main characters.
RAINBOW is dealing with a typical Japanese issue (mistreating youth) but I find it difficult to relate with, especially in comparison to shows like Eden of the East who approach the same subject differently.
None the less, this is a show to keep an eye on.
Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru or: Obligatory Yaoi show of the season
VERDICT: GENERIC YAOI SHOW I couldn't find a fansub of this. Judging by the preview, it's a very generic yaoi show with girly boys who cry in eachother's arms alot. Disregarding the gayness of it all, this anime has subpar acting, subpar plot and subpar romance.
Shin Koihime Musou – Otome Tairan or: Romance of the Three Pantsu's
VERDICT: S2 OF A DULL, MOE-DRIVEN SHOW This show is basically a mashup between Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Pantsu-antics. The males in this show thankfully don't take a central role, but none the less Shin Koihime Musou finds a way to show lots of pantsu and girls rolling over the floor together, halfnaked.
When the group of girls subsequently think one of them is pregnant, because she's slightly fat and has a bit of a stomach ache, the show has hit a new low. Why this show has a second season is beyond me.
SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors or: Romance of the Three Robots
VERDICT: MEDIOCRE MASHUP This is a relatively decent show, but do we really need more Romance of the Three Kingdom animations? Furthermore, do we really need more mediocre shows milking the Gundam name? I don't think so.
Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri or: This is a great season for toddlers!
VERDICT: CHARMING KIDS SHOW THAT TUMBLES AND FALLS This is a really cute show. Right at the beginning, your souls is caressed by the sweet sounds of a character called Ringo. Her voice actress truly delivered an outstanding preformance.
The show progresses as you'd expect (3 ordinary girls turn magical, have to save fairyland) but then, right near the end, the show turns bad. There's a small concert where the show is suddenly in godawful CG. The whole song, which is supposed to be climactic, is just terrible. It's a lyrical ode to applepie, from what I could understand.
While this show is not all bad, Jewel Pet Tinkle is nearly identical conceptually and 100 times better/cuter.
House of Five Leaves or: The socially retarded bodyguard
VERDICT: VERY PROMISING While this first episode is not something to go completely nuts over, it's a good stepping stone for the ensuing samurai epic. This show has a charming excentric visual style. At first I thought it might be held back by the shy nature of the main character, but then it turns out he's a badass on the battlefield. Somehow those things cancel eachother out.
While this episode wasn't flashy, it did introduce us to the show very competently. I'm very keen to find out where this show is going.
By the way, the OP of this show is my favorite this season. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0w-NjMDArU
Is that all?
NO! One of the show I most anticipated this season still has to air. It's Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei, the new show from Yuasa Masaaki. For those unfamiliar with his name, it's the creator of Kaiba, Kemenozume, Mind Game and Cat Soup. Visually this show seems to be a direct descendant of Kemenozume, Considering that Madhouse animated this, I'm sure it's exactly according to Masaaki's vision. What the show will be like content-wise is anybody's guess. The description sounds rather dull (a guy looks back at his college life) but if one thing is certain in this world, it's that Yuasa Masaaki never makes dull shows. His outings are always unusual and spectacular.
Furthermore this show airs in the notaminA time slot (just like Five Leaves), which consistently airs great shows. I can't wait!