Saturday, April 27, 2013

KyoAni going Bishie, Say What?!

Well, shit just hit the fan. It's hilarious, but I don't personally find it entirely out of character for KyoAni to swing from one end of the extreme to the other end of the extreme. It's KyoAni's job to generate talks. "Cute girls doing cute things" has been a staple of the studio for as long as we can remember, and regardless what critics may say, we can't deny no one in the industry has quite mastered the art of pandering as well as KyoAni has. Even when they've been so reliant on their tried and true formula, they usually manage to inject some intelligence into the narrative, and underpinned with an interesting directory style and monstrous production value, things usually work out pretty well on the commercial front. No question about it, moe is largely marketed for the male demographic, and though the diversity of the actual audience is hard to say, I do find moe irksome when it's over exploited, which is often the case with KyoAni series (Haruhi and Hyoka are debatable). we have this, KyoAni attempting to expand its female fanbase using pretty boys flaunting prettiness, and opening a can of worms while they are at it. 

To be honest, I'm pretty immune to blatant pandering in general and I don't find it particularly appealing either way, but the industry double-standard needs some readdressing. The bottom line is you don't often find comments like "Eww...Pedophiles" whenever moe infested shows come along, but the moment KyoAni caters to female fanservice, forums are rampant with homophobic remarks. And yes, apparently Fujoshi is representative of all girls who find pretty boys attractive. I'm not bashing on moe-fans here and it's perfectly fine to enjoy the stuff (even if I don't myself), but acting like a narrow-minded hypocritical individual is a different story altogether. Watching some fans rage is amusing and grating at the same time, but at least this provided a rare opportunity for people to talk about the lopsided state of fanservice in the open. So I say bring it on KyoAni, let's rock some boat. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Some rant and comment on Rurouni Kenshin

As the title indicates, I'm just using the space to vent some of my frustration after revisiting Rurouni Kenshin (the anime and the manga) for the Nth time. Where is my Jinchuu arc anime?! And better yet....where is my faithful remake?! With RK's 15th anniversary in 2011, I was hoping to finally receive the news I had been waiting for, but what I got was a bunch of side projects that accomplished little more than bringing about another wave of nostalgia that reminded me just how remarkable the series is – and the grim reality that we probably won't see a reboot anytime soon. It's disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that the industry still remembers this wonderful story and is showing some effort in preserving the public interest, but with so much that could be and should be done for this franchise, I am simply not satisfied with the result. 

I am a passionate RK fan and has been for almost 10 years. This is one of the first series I've watched after being introduced to anime, and curiously, my love for the story and the characters only grew deeper and deeper with each revisit. The TV series has 95 episodes; the first 60 episodes follow the manga faithfully, but the last 35 episodes are fillers due to the fact the last arc (Jinchuu arc) of the manga wasn't finished when the anime was in production. Well, this is a pretty big deal given the length and significance of the last arc – it spans roughly 100 chapters, and the entire manga is only 255 chapters in length. The Jinchuu arc explores the titular character Himura Kenshin on a profound level, connecting his past to the present, and thus bringing everything full circle. Perhaps to compensate for the lack of closure in anime format, two OVAs were produced after the manga concluded. The first OVA (Tsuioku Hen - Trust and Betrayal) details Kenshin's life amidst the revolution as the feared Battousai and more specifically, his encounter and ensuing relationship with Tomoe that ultimately ended in tragedy. It's told beautifully – poetic in narrative and in style. The second OVA (Seisohen - Reflection) recounts the manga story with a self-invented ending for the MCs. Adopting the same art style and atmosphere as the first OVA, it leads to an conclusion that's overbearing and simply too heartbreaking to accept – this is another reason why I want the last arc adapted, to see Kenshin getting the happy ending he deserves. Now, I want to talk about Himura Kenshin, the titular character.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Spring Season - First Impression Summary Post II Valvrave & Maou-sama

Holy cow, that was a pretty epic premiere, and epic in the sense that it reminds me a lot of Code Geass with tragedy and drama rolled into one. Out of all the mecha offerings we have this season, without a doubt this one packed the most punch for me. Sure as hell, I'm pretty lost to where the show is headed especially after that gripping cliffhanger, but this is where I don't mind being lost because it generates the kind of anticipatory excitement I revel in. Our MC, a pacifist at the beginning of the episode experiences a change of heart with the loss of his loved one, and it's a pretty dramatic transformation alright, from not wanting to fight to piloting a dangerous weapon ruthlessly killing people who are not even directly responsible for Shoko's death. Though it's a bit of a overshort to say Haruto is changed for good and now sees his world in black and white. His reckless behaviours is a manifestation of rage fuelled by an irrational thirst for revenge, but once that simmers down, I have a feeling he'll find himself in a moral dilemma sooner or later being who he is deep within. So far, the main antagonist seems like a pretty cynical guy with little regard for human lives – at least the life of those who interfere with his objective – but I wouldn't so readily label him as evil or anything so definitive, I believe there is more to him than meets the eye. There are so many intriguing possibilities to be had here and so far so good, the opening of Valvrave lived up to expectation. My only gripe is the CG, it's a bit of a letdown for Sunrise to rely on CG when they themselves pioneered hand drawn mecha. 

Verdict: Watching 

Hataraku Maou-sama
Thank goodness I didn't condemn this show to my anime graveyard, for it gave us the best non-sci-fi premiere of the season. It opened with a battle so intense that I thought I picked up the wrong show, but when the comedy hit, I was practically rolling on the floor. It was pretty hilarious watching our main dudes awkwardly navigating their new found world. It's a shame that they adjusted to the human way of living faster than I anticipated, which means no more goofy mistakes that we can laugh at. That is not to say the story won't go down the drain from here, and to be honest, with the initial setup pretty much out of the way, I'm a little worried how much steam is left in the show. But regardless, Maou-sama boasts a great opening that certainly exceeded my expectations in the comedy department. 

Verdict: Tentative 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Death Billiards - Review

Year: 2013 (Anime Mirai)
Studio: Madhouse
# of episode: 1
Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa

As the newest addition to the Young Animator Training Project from Madhouse, Death Billiards is a strange little show that I can't quite put my finger on. It's morbid and dramatic, but also oddly sympathetic at the end when the pieces come together. I can't imagine anyone other than Madhouse handling this project – it's just something right up their alley in terms of mood and symbolism. I tried not to include any spoilers, so this should be safe for those who haven't seen it.  

2013 Spring Season - First Impression Summary Post

I don't even know why I'm doing this when I'm not an episodic blogger..>.<..and I also don't plan to keep up on a weekly basis, marathon is a better way for me to get the most out of anime. I hate having my momentum disrupted. But ahh, I just felt like ranting, so that's what I did.