Sunday, September 15, 2013

Anime Season for JACT, part 2

No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys' Fault I’m Not Popular! (Watamote)
            This is one of the rare times that the short Japanese version is preferable, but that is only because the title's length is supposed to be a joke.  This is one of those rare comedy anime in which most of the humor works even on American audiences because it is mostly about the extreme awkwardness of the main protagonist, a teenage girl who gets all of her ideas about social interaction from dating (porn) video games she plays.  It successfully juxtaposes her dark antisocial personality, the sadness of that, and the fact that what she wants (friends and a boyfriend specifically) are totally at odds with how she sees the world (referring to socializing people as "sluts" and envisions them having orgies at karaoke clubs, though nothing explicit is shown the implication is that a girl is masturbating with a microphone).

Since her normal appearance is just like any other sulky anime character design, they often go out of the way to super detail animate her when she tries to make herself look pretty or ugly, either way she ends up looking awful.
            Complaints: a lot of people were laughing really hard at different parts that I didn't find funny, I found them pathetic and sad.  Being unable to talk to people and then begging a sibling for help to form some kind of social interaction is not funny, it is sad.  Her brother then lamenting having to help her deal with this (just through the simple act of listening) is also sad, if your sibling talks about suicide and then begs you to help them find a voice to talk to people you shouldn't then try to ignore them, that isn't a joke, that is not a punch line.  If anything that should be a turning point in the show.
            In sum: a funny dark comedy about an unlikable protagonist that approaches moments of being a little too mean spirited for my taste, but then brings it back a bit.  Could stand to have a little more heart in my opinion.  This was also voted a keeper.

            I swear to god this show has the best opening teaser I have seen in a long time (that links to the whole first episode), a woman with a camera takes pictures of political intrigue, as she walks away to document the evidence she is run down by a car, the driver then destroys the memory card to the camera and drives off leaving her to die in the rain.  That is gangbuster television.  It then cuts to an anime opening about a school club based around trying out various candy and snack food and the wacky shenanigans the club members get up to.  I swear to god it is like they spliced five minutes of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" into the opening of "Bring it On".  There are also moments of politics and big pretentious speeches about school financing that have too much overture and take the series from goofy fun to grim serious in a half second.

Okay, this show has 7 female characters and made the color coded hair thing work.
            Complaints: the tone of this show is totally fucked and completely jarring.  The scenes of humor start off as relatable and fun, real friends interacting with one another, like an episode of "Boy Meets World", then it gets odd with more and more surreal humor like a guy with a propeller sprouting out of his head just spinning for no reason, and a guy with a mask that no one but the main character notices (Metaphor?).  The political intrigue stuff is from another show and is stupidly framed around student council politics (Commentary?) and just seems out of place next to the stupid goofy comedy.
            In sum: I actually was willing to give this strange blending of genres another go but it was voted down.  Maybe the political intrigue would make the comedy parts less zany, and the comedy would make the politics less pretentious, I don't know, and I guess it doesn't matter.

            This show is competently drawn boredom centering around little girls growing up.  There are four characters, the retard, the retard's stalker, the butt monkey, and the one in glasses.
            Even More Complaints:  This show is shit and I can explain why.  When you have a show that centers on Magic, Aliens invading, or other non-normal things you typically like to set the stage by having the normalcy of the main characters lives played up, each has some simple characteristics and backstory that people can easily grasp so that when the odd stuff shows up they will not get hung up on characters they can't connect with.  It is like how "Sailor Moon" and "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" had very typical teenagers as their protagonists but each had their own role in the team.  "A Channel!" has no supernatural element, it is just boring easy to identify teen clichés.  It is padded to all hell and there is no plot to notice.  Maybe it is supposed to be funny, but it is mostly just NOTHING.
            In sum: I don't want to watch it, and neither did anyone else, it had the fewest votes for continued watching.
Does anybody know what the hell we are even doing here?

Free! (Iwatobi Swim Club)
            This show kind of confounds me.  It is a fanservice show.  It is about a group of childhood friends (all guys) who grew apart when one moved away.  They are all swimmers and the show seems to have them get dressed only so they can disrobe to bathing suits dramatically and often.  Lots of abdominals, lots of ass and crotch shots.  The whole thing seems to have been created backwards, a 30 second commercial for the show was created by an upstart animation team to showcase their talent, the commercial for a show that doesn't exist went viral, a lot of fan-fiction was written, and to capitalize on a market that they created the team then made a series.
            Complaints: the characters are kind of boring.  They are a boy band: the cute one, the loner, the jerk, and the big softy.  I am not a fan of fan service, I kind of grew away from sexualizing cartoons and have a hard time getting into boobs that are drawn.  Now I have a show that is showing off illustrated male bodies, so before I was 'meh' now I am at whatever level of caring that is below 'meh'.  My biggest complaint will sound insane though: it was not voted to be a regular.

There is a shocking amount of pornography related to this show... Maybe not that shocking.
            There were more women at the JACT meeting last night than I have ever seen at a meeting, and much like a ladies night out to see "Magic Mike" they were hooting and woo-ing at "Free!"  They came to watch "Free!"  Since it isn't a regular, not a lot of them will come back, so the club will revert to a much more mono-gender setting and that is bad.  I don't necessarily want to hit on all 20-40 women there, that is lecherous even for me, but I like having people to talk with about what we all are watching that are not the same people every week and not all of them should be the same gender.  Instead the club just didn't vote for it, and I imagine more than a few of them looked at the show as "gay" and wrote it off for that reason.  Now I will admit, the show isn't good, but I like the idea of another group coming to JACT for the show they want to watch and then getting some other stuff with it.  Broadening the appeal without necessarily deluding the content.
            In sum: it is fine, I am not who it is aimed at and there is a place for this type of show.

If you are a fan of Anime and are inexplicably still reading this I recommend JesuOtaku as an anime reviewer over on her own site and ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.

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