Anime Watchlist

#335

I recently tried to watch the anime for Karin, a.k.a. Chibi Vampire, a.k.a. Cheeky Vampire because after I recently reread the manga. The manga still is very good and holds up for the most part. The story is ostensibly a rom-com about a vampire girl that is an outlier in her family. She can walk around by day, is scared of the dark, can’t manipulate memories, and most importantly instead of sucking blood she over-produces blood and has to inject it into others. A new transfer student named Kenta Usui arrives and Karin’s blood reacts to him due to his misery. Hijinks and romance ensue.

The series can be a bit cliche, but also sets itself apart by talking about some rather mature topics as well, such as poverty, parenting, child neglect, teenage prostitution, and sexual assault. Some of the plot points revolving around these topics I wondered if/how they would be handled in the anime as they aren’t exactly TV friendly, and thought I should give it a shot.

First thing I notice is the animation. Of course the series is from 2005/06 and its readily apparent just how much animation has jumped forward in quality over the decade and a half approximately since, but it’s still fine. I make my way through the early part of the story which is a straight adaptation, though I also noticed that they increased the number of nosebleeds she suffers to a ludicrous amount. Then comes what I was wondering.

One of the early plot points is Usui’s mom being desperate to find work even though she is an unskilled high school drop out, having born Kenta at age 16. She eventually finds work at a love hotel as a cleaning lady, and befriends a teenage runaway who has being forced into prostitution, helping her escape and the love hotel getting shut down, she having done the right thing even though it cost her a source of income she desperately needed.

Nothing of that is in the anime. Instead the anime introduces an incredibly stupid original character that is both extraordinarily dumb written and horribly voice-acted. Instead of raising an underutilized topic and sticking to the original plotline, they go ultra-cliche introducing a rival character with the most contrived backstory ever, and his entire presence is just annoying and dislikeable. After about three episodes with the guy I could no longer take it and dropped the series. Way to ruin an adaptation.

I have also read the Wikipedia page for the anime episodes, and apparently they just didn’t adapt the most important part of the anime which is the underlying reason for the events of the series happening: The reason why the Usui’s moved to a different town, and Kenta’s confrontation with his father.

#336

I recently watched Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues (Chūkan Kanriroku Tonegawa) an excellent series you should watch, but is probably better if you’ve seen the original series first. This is a spin-off prequel to Kaiji, a high-stakes gambling anime that just ratchets up the tension. Tonegawa on the other hand is a comedy that focuses on the villains from the Kaiji series. Initially this is mostly about Tonegawa who struggles to keep his irrational tyrannical boss happy and his quasi-nameless/faceless underlings in line, but later incorporates a second spin-off from Kaiji called One-Day Outing Chronicle Leader (1-nichi Gaishutsuroku Hanchō) which follows Otsuki, a foreman in an illegal forced labor camp and his single day excursions from that camp to both enjoy his life in extremely petty ways, but also to organize for his schemes with which he exploits the other laborers in the camp.

This show is extremely funny in the ridiculous situations it presents, the analogies it creates for them, and also has some very good allusions and parodies to the main story of Kaiji as well as some other anime properties. However, what makes this series the best is the narrator who is just a joy to listen to in plays up really kind of mundane and dumb situations to extreme and hilarious lengths.

Because of that series, I also started a rewatch of Kaiji: The Ultimate Survivor (a.k.a. Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji) which is a bit silly on the surface but just grabs the viewer and drags you in, chews you through and spits you out. I will however say that while it uses a similar narrator to Tonegawa (which is of course what Tonegawa is parodying to an extend), the narrator is a different voice actor. The voice actor for Tonagawa is also a different one between the series (not sure about Otsuki, haven’t gotten to his part yet).

Another series I’m currently watching is Gurazeni a.k.a. Money Pitch, a series about professional baseball. Unlike other sports series it doesn’t exactly follow a straight narrative and the games themselves are mostly tangential. Instead it zooms back out and talks about the ins and outs of professional baseball, i.e. contracts, retirement of ball players, calling up from and sending people back to minor leagues, acquiring foreign talent, etc. The show still follows a team over more or less a season, but it is very episodic and you could watch almost any episode without having seen any other episode of the show. It is primarily shown from the perspective of Natsunosuke Bonda, a left-handed middle reliever from a Tokyo based team who has a hang-up about pitching against players who make a bit, but not a lot, more money than he does.

The show is good if you’re into that sort of stuff, but I don’t think it has great appeal outside of that. There are three gripes I specifically have. For one, all the characters look odd and don’t have a cohesive art style. The faces of a lot of players are drawn very much like caricatures, while others have a more developed profile and it is very scattershot. Take a look. My second gripe is with the animation. For some in-game actions, particularly for Bonda’s pitching they use a 3D model for the characters. This is done to have the same motion but be able to use different camera angles, but it also seems cheap and is looks out of place and distracting a lot of times.

My last gripe is the lack of and usage of female characters. Basically the show has none. Unlike high school sports shows there are also no like team manager girls around. However, the OP shows multiple stereotypically cute anime girls as reporters interviewing players, the stadium announcer and stadium aisle vendors. There is one female character who shows up multiple times in the OP and who is the only character in the first iteration of the ED (in the second season the song remains the same, but the animation changes). She is the only named female character and does not show up in the series itself until episode 12 and only gets to play the role of a distant love interest to the main character. I mean, it is kind of expected that a show about male sports don’t have a lot of female characters, but I found this kind of off-putting, particularly with the very suggestively spoken, female-voiced “shoo” that for some reason accompanies the commercial break eye-catches. I just found it offputting and in a way even worse than typical otaku-bait show filled with eye-candy female characters, though it is hardly something that makes the series unwatchable.

#337

Just finished rewatching Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (first time since I downloaded fansubs years ago, this time an official release) and man, it’s even better than I remembered, especially when you binge it.

1 Like
#338

One Patch Man, a show about a hero who can fix any bug in one commit.

2 Likes
#339

I’m torn between wanting it to be about how baller one person is or how bad everyone else is.

3 Likes
#340

I just finished Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (or AoButa as is the shorthandle for its name) and boy, that show was much better than it had any right to be. The setup is that one day a slightly disengaged teenage boy named Sakuta suddenly sees a girl in a Bunny Girl costume strolling through a library, seemingly invisible to anybody but him. She is in fact a retired child actress and also his senpai at his school, where she is known but mostly ignored. The reason for her literally disappearing is ascribed to “adolescence syndrome” where supernatural phenomena occur to teenagers but is thought of as an urban legend. The boy has however first hand experience with it already. From there the show solves multiple mysteries of this adolescence syndrome and how they manifest in the viscinity of Sakuta and his small circle of friends and family, with him trying to find solutions.

If you read this setup and saw Bakemonogatari and its endless cavalcade of continuations, you will probably have picked up the similarities between the two shows, both being adaptations of light novels too. The nominal difference is that while the Monogatari series drenches its mysteries in japanese folklore and mysticism, AoButa dresses up its phenomena in quantum physics in a somewhat handwavy manner, a sort of science-mysticism if you will.

The far more important thing though, and what makes this show worth watching, is how AoButa utilizes the conditions of its characters to draw analogies to the process of growing up and coming of age, of learning to navigate your social environment and how bucking the expectations it puts on you can both be necessary and freeing at times. It also helps that the main character actually has a personality rather than being a vanilla stand-in for the target male audience to self insert into.

There are still some squicky things about the series, most prominently the little sister character though thankfully at least she is 15 and nothing much is there beyond a brother being rightfully concerned over the wellbeing of a sister who had a traumatic experience of her own. I also didn’t exactly like a rather sexist joke about girls being on periods in the first episode. However, the series has really a lot of depth to it you wouldn’t expect and is certainly worth watching.

1 Like
#341

After putting the second season off for a while, I finally gotten around to finishing Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu). The series was quite a hit for a while and I read the manga which I very much liked. For the two people living beneath a rock: The series revolves around a yellow tentacled monster who, after blowing up 70% of the moon, for some reason assumes the duty of teaching a class for “problem students” in a prestigious middle school, challenging them to kill him before graduation a year later.

While the premise is peak anime and the plot itself as well as the underlying resolutions to the mysteries the series poses are a bit lackluster, where the series shines is the character moments, and that is a bit surprising to be honest. Not only because the series both positions Korosensei as an existential threat to the earth itself while characterizing him as a sort of super-teacher that is extraordinarily capable of teaching and deeply cares about his students and a lovable doofus to boot, but despite falling back on a large number of tropes, it still gives most of the almost 30 students in class a day in the limelight which makes it probably the most fully realized class of students in anime history. It’s still on occasion a bit year-booky as in “most likely to succeed in business” or “best athlete in class” type of deal, but can go deeper than that when necessary exploring why those characters ended up where they did and how they can move on.

In addition to that, the story itself is also a very good skewering of the japanese school system and the tremendous stress it puts both on students and teachers with its forced competition and its preposterous demands it sometimes puts upon them. In a lot of ways this series has a lot of commonalities with Great Teacher Onizuka and doesn’t fall short on it.

So why is this series worth watching instead of reading the manga? Not only does it stick very closely to the manga with basically no filler or deviation, while keeping up with a very fast clip of chapter-to-episode utilization (occasionally a bit too fast, IMHO), it also adds in some very excellent voice work and a very good art direction and I am particularly fond of the colorization choices the anime made. It just feels very vivid and adds the elements to complete the manga. One of the rare cases where a very strict adaptation is made that still adds a lot to a series.

#342

I watched the first season of that and liked it, but just never got around watching the second one. I really should go back to it.

#343

1 Like
#344

Yeah, I was pretty much in the same boat. The series is very good, but if there is one fault it doesn’t really have anything that grips you that says “you have to continue watching it”. That the first season has a pretty good breaking point where it ends which allows the viewer to take a break (which was necessary as this also represented a larger break in production/airing of the show) is one of its pitfalls. However, the second season is just as good and has a conclusion worth sticking with it and when you start it you definitely want to continue watching it.

#345

JoJo continues to be the pinnacle of human artistic achievement, although Gold Experience isn’t quite as compelling as Diamond is Unbreakable. Still, it’s solid.

I tore through Mob Psycho 100 so we could both watch the second season, and that was a good experience. I have to say, I preferred the first season to the second so far; Mob Psycho 100 II spent too much time meandering and not committing to any development early on, so it’s got a lot to make up for and only one episode left in which to do it.

Still, totally worthy show.

We’ve started The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and while I gave the first episode heaps of side-eye, it has righted itself admirably since. Enjoyable, and cool to see a show that uses mythology from the British isles.

4 Likes
#346

Caught up on Dororo. Not sure if it’s over or if it’s mid-season? I enjoyed all of it so-far pretty well.

Also watched the new DC animated movie. More of a middling opinion on that.

#347

Is it the -actual- first episode or the dumb way Crunchyroll put the manga preorder insert DVD only OAV episodes first in the queue?

#348

No, the actual first episode of the actual 24 episode series, not whatever the fuck that OAV is. I gave it sideye (and actually still do a bit) because the whole setup of the relationship between Chise and Elias is PROBLEMATIC and continues to be PROBLEMATIC. But also it’s kind of a cool show so I let it slide.

Crunchyroll is so bad. It’s counterintuitive, but we finally caved and paid for premium because the fucking ads were causing the app to freeze. It’s so fucking terrible and I don’t want to support it, but also premium just fucking works so ugh. Assholes.

#349

I’ve actually had the opposite happen to me, I gave up premium because it kept crashing and freezing. But the free service works just fine.
So weird.

#350

It’s definitely a bit sticky as an initial setup, but because the story doesn’t harp on it through a pervy male gazey fanservice lens I agree that I think it can slide.

2 Likes
#351

So we finished this show, and I don’t totally know how I feel about it.

Like, the relationship stayed weird, but I guess it got less creepy as Chise grew more agency.

But also, I kinda feel like it was 20 episodes of buildup for 4 episodes of meat.

And like, I appreciated exploring the world, but where the plot wound up going made a solid chunk of the preceding material seem utterly pointless.

Especially the dragons. Like, why did there even need to be dragons at all? What did they add to the plot arc aside from “hey there are dragons in this world?”

I dunno, it just felt like some of it was forced and didn’t really play into Chise’s character development, or maybe her development was just kinda stilted.

I wanted to learn more about Elias, but he stayed this sort of remote monster for literally the entire show, so like, eh?

Overall, it was a pretty show with a decidedly “meh” plot and character development.

#352

Did that cursed kid who was making chimeras for reasons make a return to reveal what he was plotting?

#353

He eventually becomes the primary antagonist, although they don’t really delve into what he was plotting with making all those chimeras beyond “being evil and making people suffer because I’m suffering.”

#354

There’s a lot that the manga fills out a lot more. Its over ten volumes and ongoing so its a very slow burn.