Spring 2012 – Week 3 Anime Review

This week: thoughts and an idea for the plot of Tsuritama, you are a schoolgirl when you watch Zetman, the multiple features of the heavy shading lines in Lupin III: Fujiko, and I pretty much just complain about little somethings from everything else.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD (Episode 3) – If there has to be one disappointment in the second season of Zombie, it would be assigned to the character-specific humor.  While situational humor has remained golden, the character humor has refused to evolve into something tolerable and continues to be the bane to an otherwise good comedy.  First example: Seraphim continues to call Ayuma a worthless piece of shit every chance she gets.  Not only has the joke never been funny and never will be, but it has become what Seraphim is, overpowering any other humor from her and forcing her into a one-dimensional character who cannot do anything else.  Haruna continues to act the same as in the first season when focusing on her character only but her situational humor is among the best with the voodoo dance this episode being spectacular.  Eucliwood participates in humor less than mostand her silent commentary usually compliments the humor preceding it.  She’s been the brightest in the series without a doubt.  Finally, Ayumu typically has humor acted on his character rather than initiated by himself but the few jokes he has are often refreshing since they’re not all pigeonholed on a stereotype steming from their introduction.  Any improvement on the character humor would significantly help the series overall, and not only from an entertaining perspective but from a character growth one, too.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (Episode 3) – The frequent use of bold, heavy lines to depict shading or shadows in Lupin III is an excellent artistic style to show darkness and it includes two additional characteristics to it that normal shading simply does not provide.  Perhaps the most obvious is that it is eye-catching, a unique style that is unlike any other when it comes to shading.  The lines subdue the characters or environment and lay on top of everything else which is enough to pull our eyes to them like attracting magnets.  An added bonus to that effect and along with the extra detail is it adds emphasis to the object being shaded, too.  Not only does it look different than all other styles of shading and glue our eyes to the object but the thick, black lines add importance to whatever is being shaded.  The object has weight and perspective now and will be important to the characters or story.  Not everything is shaded in Lupin, only the objects or characters with value.  The shading lines from Lupin are truly a masterful technique in animation and a perfect match for a series with a gorgeous and stunning art style as the new Lupin III series has.

Medaka Box (Episode 3) – What’s this?  Recurring characters already?  With the baddies from the first two episodes already in the anime again as minor characters, Medaka Box is already using characters introduced from previous stories in the current stories.  Consider that a huge thumbs up for Medaka as it enforces the school aspect of the anime better than anything else we’ve seen.  What it does besides bring back the beautiful black-haired track chick Isahaya characters we’ve gotten to know from their personal stories and show that the school Medaka serves is populated by real people and not just people with problems.  Additionally, it shows that once Medaka solves their problem that they return to a normal or better life rather than disappear into irrelevance or nothingness.  More on that, they’re not evil anymore.  They were just portrayed that way for the sake of their story.  They’re all high school kids, so it’s nice to see them have some variability and depth rather than Baddie from Episode 1.  It’s a move I’m sure to enjoy, especially if we witness these characters interacting with the main cast (Hyuga eating lunch with Hitoyoshi was glorious), with each other (Isahaya and Ariake running to school together was nice), or becoming involved in another story all together.

Mouretsu Pirates (Episode 16) – Mouretsu Pirates is too nice.  With the Space Yacht Club all piloting the Bentenmaru through space and partaking in legitimate pirate activities (crashing cruise ship parties is, what they did is not) everything goes swimmingly and any hint of tension or stress is morphed into comedy or immediately dismissed.  But what I’d love to see is there be tension and stress placed on the relationships of the girls in the club.  They’re smiling way too much and being way too relaxed for what they’re doing.  I’ve love to see a few girls get in arguments and Marika order them around in a way that’d strain her relationship with her friends.  What it would do for the story is test the strength of Marika’s captaining abilities and see if she can do what’s right for the ship or what’s right for her friendships.  Hell, it could even lead to a mutiny or something awesome.  But whatever the case, I want to see Marika be placed in a stressful situation that builds her character and one that does so with all her friends present.  It would do wonders for the arc on Marika’s character and also tone down the happy-go-lucky atmosphere that has become somewhat uncontrollable in this anime.

Space Brothers (Episode 4) – Is there a bit too much humor in Space Bros?  Yeah, coming from me who believes comedy reigns supreme over all the other genres, if I think the comedy is a bit much, then it very well could be.  Why I feel there is too much comedy in Space Bros is because it has begun to overshadow the serious themes and emotional story that’s happening concurrently.  Every instances there is an important development or significant change in the story, it is often followed by a scene that demolishes the tense atmosphere and replaces it with a lightened mood that does not match at all what happened before.  I’d love for the humor and plot developments to be separated more so that the story is not being interrupted by comedy and that these developments can sink in and we can feel their impact and magnitude.  The comedy in Space Bros is among my favorite of the season and I love the humor of this anime but I wish it did not affect the story the way it does.  If the anime were able to keep the same amount of humor but distribute it in a way that it does not reduce the influence of the story, then I wouldn’t have any complaints for this anime.  None at all.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Episode 3) – Now that we’ve been formally reintroduced to the main cast of characters of Amnesia, it’s time to reevaluate the cast.  Yuuko, as we’ve learned, has quite an interesting personality and backstory and plays the most integral part of the anime being central to the story.  We’ve also learned that Kirie has a fear and disgust toward Yuuko for being a ghost but is willing to help solve the mystery in hopes of resolving her presence around the school.  Momoe has a curious mind and is interested in mysteries and the paranormal and is a perfect fit for the Paranormal Investigation Club despite her fear of the supernatural.  And finally we come to Teiichi who… uh… what do my notes say on him?  Well, he’s nice to everyone he meets.  And he wants to help everyone, too.  And he can’t handle anything remotely sexual without blushing and turning away.  In other words, Teiichi is Taro Everylead, the lad with no personality, strengths, or defining characteristics besides that he gets all the girls and can see a ghost.  Oh what, did I just describe 20 male leads in recent anime just now?  Seriously, Teiichi is an incredibly weak character with zero interesting characteristics and zero room to grow.  I’m seriously beginning to wonder if most manga or light novels or anime writers cannot write interesting male leads or only care about the female cast since that what sells.  I know for a fact that it isn’t because you can apply the viewer in his role but that’s utter bullshit since every single human being has more personality then that wet blanket.  Well, at least I like all the girls.

Tsuritama (Episode 2) – Curious on the potential story to Tsuritama beyond ‘saving the world’?  My impression of the story is that it will be a parallel to the folktale shown at the beginning of the first episode but with modern improvements.  The Goddesses who descended from the sky to save Enoshima will be played by Haru and Koko who have shown more interest in fishing than anyone else in the anime.  Why they’re interested in fishing is that the ocean is where the five-headed serpent resides, what Haru and Koko are trying to slay or defeat (or befriend as would be suggested by Haru’s personality… but I’d rather see Haru hack and slice a fish to death).  The sleeping monster can only be caught by Yuki (or something) which is why Haru has decided to stalk him everywhere and they want to capture the beast before he awakens and begins destroying Enoshima.  The rest of the cast will be other players from the tale at the beginning but their roles have yet to be determined so early in the anime and without any details to the actual story yet.  But that’s what I believe the story will be for Tsuritama, at least now.

Upotte!! (Episode 3) – Upotte!! has a unique style of humor.  Rather than just tell a joke and move on, Upotte!! opts for a style where it spends a few minutes providing brilliant and detailed information about real world guns and equating it to the character that portrays it and then telling its joke once you understand why the joke is funny.  Most of the time these infodumps are tedious and boring but the humor afterwards has often been pretty decent.  The story about L85A1 near the end of this episode was a winner in my opinion since it was unlike most of the other explanations.  Rather than just explain, explain, explain, explain, explain and then joke, we were shown L85A1’s reactions to everything the narrator told us, so we could be amused while also being educated.  It certainly isn’t a style of humor I particularly like and it’s not a style that any anime can pull off but they often make some of the best jokes in Upotte!! despite them often being hit-or-miss.  If the anime can continue having humor blended into the explanations rather than just being straight education, I can see myself and many others enjoying this anime more than we already are.

Zetman (Episode 3) – When you watch Zetman, you are a little, innocent schoolgirl.  Literally.  The perspective you have as a viewer is that of Konoha, Kouga’s younger sister.  She has a connection between both the main characters, Jin and Kouga, and has an insight into their views of justice and their secret lives as budding heroes.  What she sees in these characters, when they explain their philosophies and actions, is exactly presented in how it should be explained to the audience.  These times when Konoha receives this information and judges for herself, we are doing the same, too.  We are literally watching the anime through Konoha.  She is our eyes, our perspective to this world.  We don’t all agree with Konoha’s viewpoints and actions as a combined audience but the way the information and developments are shown in this anime and presented to Konoha, it’s clear that we’re in her position to experience this gain.  So the next time you sit down to watch awesome action heroes duke it out with deadly monsters from Hell, just remember you’re the one running around in a sailor uniform voiced by Kana Hanazawa (and wearing a totally kick-ass hat, too).

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  1. #1 by Zammael on April 24, 2012 - 10:14 AM

    Aye I echo your sentiments regarding Bodacious Space Pirates. The first cour was excellent in setting up a couple of arcs. But since then the show has somewhat lost its momentum and run aground and overdosed on cute hijinks.

    Hopefully this is only a temporary side quest like the RPGs and a character building one for Marika when her crew recovers, and the story can return to danger by heighten the stakes a bit.

    • #2 by avvesione on April 24, 2012 - 10:29 AM

      While the first two episodes with the school girls has been a bit cutsy and light-hearted, it seems things will switch gears immediately with the next episode by trying to rescue Jenny and become a more adventerous episode. In the preview there were battleships firing and other action going on, so it looks to improve quickly. And that’s one of the reasons why my topic is I hope to see some fights or strained relationships in the next episode though you know it will all end up nice and happy in the end.

  2. #3 by feal87 on April 24, 2012 - 12:27 PM

    Tasogare Otome X Amnesia is turning out to be one of the most interesting series of this season…but yes, I agree that the protagonist has no personality. Not much more to expect from a shounen series right? :P

    • #4 by avvesione on April 24, 2012 - 7:27 PM

      Yeah but my friend did point out something that supports his character over most personality-less male leads: he isn’t annoying. That’s gotta be a win for him but it really is disappointing to have an anime like that with an interesting premise and some decent characters to be all tied together by another boring guy. But at least the girls are good to great (and that’s all that really matter, right?)

  3. #5 by bobbobsters on April 24, 2012 - 4:22 PM

    I’de say I like the comedic balance that is sort-of ever-present in space bros. To me, it doesn’t really say the show itself is silly, but that the perspective you get, I’m guessing from Mutta, as I find him as something like a happy-go-lucky person who always finds a way to laugh at himself, but also cuts his own sadness and unhappiness with his own brand of humor. Like marking his spot on the wall next to his brother.

    I leave you with a question: Of the gun girls, which one would you: Shoot, Shoot AT, and have as your gun? (because it’s your gun, there are many like it, but that one is yours.)

    • #6 by avvesione on April 24, 2012 - 7:31 PM

      You’re correct about Mutta being happy-go-lucky and trying to laugh things off or live in the moment. But what bothers me is that the humor seems to overshadow or drown out his empowering story. My friend said it’s like that but he thinks it’s because of the lack of significant dramatic developments, not that there are too many or too powerful jokes. Rather than be a problem with the humor being too strong, he thinks the drama is too weak. As you might assume, we argue all the time about these things.

      As for the girl/guns questions are we talking about the actual girls or the actual guns? I’m more than slightly confused on what you’re asking.

      • #7 by bobbobsters on April 25, 2012 - 4:28 PM

        Um, yes?

        • #8 by avvesione on April 25, 2012 - 4:35 PM

          Gonna just toss some answers, hope they stick: gun I’d like to shoot is M14 since that looks like fun. Who of the girls would I want to shoot? The teacher. And who would I want as my gun? Probably the M16A4 since it’s significantly improved and more practical than the M14.

          If we’re talking about just the girls… eh, M14 is probably the best of the bunch though FNC and SG550 have nice personalities.

        • #9 by bobbobsters on April 27, 2012 - 3:11 PM

          You don’t like L85’s personality?

        • #10 by avvesione on April 27, 2012 - 3:50 PM

          Nah, she’s my least favorite of the four.

        • #11 by bobbobsters on April 28, 2012 - 10:02 AM

          because she doesn’t talk?

        • #12 by avvesione on April 28, 2012 - 3:42 PM

          It’s not an issue of me disliking her but more an issue of me liking the other guns more. She’s great for comedy and her reactions are perfect but that’s not enough compared to the others. It’ll be a while before I watch Upotte!! 4 since I’m out of town but maybe I can use examples from there to clarify my position on L85A1.

  4. #13 by Joojoobees on April 24, 2012 - 7:05 PM

    Agree about Dusk Maiden male lead. On the positive side, the introduction of the latest harem member isn’t quite as predictably harem-y as it could have been. On the negative side, mr. every-lead is the quintessential harem owner. I’m still watching because the first two episodes showed promise, and this episode was very plot-oriented in it’s own way, but Dusk Maiden still hasn’t proved conclusively that it can avoid being yet another ecchi harem show.

    • #14 by avvesione on April 24, 2012 - 7:37 PM

      I share the same feelings but not as strongly as you since I do kinda like ecchi anime from time to time. The anime doesn’t seem destined to tell its story in the 12 episodes this season but it does seem to have a story it wants to tell with another ghost in the school causing trouble and with the club wanting to solve Yuuko’s mystery. But to be honest, the story won’t matter all that much as much as I’d like to see a reduction in haremness or this bullshit romance that’s going on. That would improve the series much more than any good story would, at least in my opinion.

  5. #15 by Myst on April 24, 2012 - 7:46 PM

    I am okay with Space Pirates, but episode sixteen was the first one where I really felt it was too light and silly for its own good. From a character development point of view, what happens makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be more serious.

    Speaking of shows in space, thank you for suggesting Space Bros the other day because it has become my favorite show of the new season (not counting Fate/Zero). You mention how you feel that the comedy is too strong at times, but I’m not sure I agree with that as I feel that the comedy has been balanced well. However, it is something I will keep a closer eye on going forward. Beyond that, this show just hits all the right notes in terms of comedy, characters, and drama. But if there was one aspect that really just stood out more than the others it would be the music. The composers did a fabulous job putting together that soundtrack.

    • #16 by avvesione on April 24, 2012 - 9:29 PM

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying Space Bros, it has continued to be one of the best anime of the season in my opinion, too. While I did complain about the comedy being too much, the comedy is still great and I end up laughing at this more than straight comedies this season. The humor is great, just I’d like to see it not overshadow the drama and story developments.

      As for Mouretsu Pirates, yeah, I don’t think anyone was really happy with that episode but the next one looks much better already from just the preview. Seems like the anime is at its best when it’s adventuring through space (which is a no-brainer) or dealing out some fun action scenes.

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