Project Haruhi
24Apr/1113

Final Impressions: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Posted by Megan

In a lot of ways, we knew exactly what to expect from Puella Magi Madoka Magica before the first episode even aired. The story was a closely guarded secret and the previews were only stills of the characters and a few random lines of dialogue with the opening theme in the background. But several other things stuck out. Shinbo had directed several magical girl anime before, and now he wanted to take a risk doing an anime-original story. It was obvious that he wouldn't be bothering with this unless he had something interesting in mind, but the music, character designs, and what we could discern of the premise gave the impression of a bog-standard Nanoha rehash. But once it was revealed that Urobuchi Gen was in charge of the script, everything suddenly made sense.

It's not what a story is about, but rather how it's about it. Execution is the single most important part of storytelling regardless of the medium. As the premise grows more complex and ambitious, it becomes more difficult to pull off. But with higher risk comes higher payoff. When these sorts of stories are told properly, they can leave an impression on viewers for years or even decades. When done poorly, they typically end up so terrible that they can enrage even the most stoic fans. Into which extreme does Puella Magi Madoka Magica fall?

If you make a contract with me, I can take you past the break!

10Apr/1110

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Resumes

Posted by Megan

 

As you may have heard, SHAFT's hugely successful series Puella Magi Madoka Magica has been on indefinite hiatus following the Sendai earthquake. While most other shows resumed after only a week, SHAFT has taken the opportunity to do what they do best. But after a month of silence, there is finally an official schedule for the remaining episodes.

According to the official MBS website, episodes eleven and twelve will both be aired in the original timeslot on April 22nd.

6Apr/118

First Impressions: Hanasaku Iroha

Posted by Megan

When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

I've always said that Charles Dickens was a brilliant author and an atrocious writer. He's responsible for some of the most iconic characters in the history of English literature, but his tendency to go into excruciating detail about unimportant things makes his stories nearly unreadable. If he hadn't been paid in a way that encouraged this, he would be one of my favorite authors. Hanasaku Iroha is not padding its pockets by producing excessive material, but it is reminiscent of Dickens in all the right ways. It feels a lot like a piece of Victorian literature, which is not what I expected from the studio responsible for things like Angel Beats! and Canaan.

Just before spring break, Ohana is shipped off to her grandmother's inn so her mother can run away from debt collectors with her boyfriend. Rather than taking her in as family, her grandmother puts her to work and makes it very clear that she will not be doing her any favors. Being accustomed to living with someone who is so impressively irresponsible, she has a bit of trouble adjusting to the strict and somewhat oppressive culture her grandmother enforces.

Please, sir, I want some more after the break.

15Mar/119

SHAFT Postpones Release of Madoka

Posted by Megan

 

My translation of this article:

2011/3/15 Volume 1 BD/DVD Postponement Notice

We offer our heartfelt sympathy to everyone affected in the Touhoku Pacific region.
Because of the earthquake, there are power shortages and issues with distribution. We were planning to release Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 1 on March 30th. Because of the situation, we have decided to postpone its release.

We deeply apologize for the large amount of trouble this will cause everyone, but we ask that you please understand and cooperate with us. Please check Aniplex's official site from now on for updates regarding the release date.

You've probably already heard about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It's obvious things like this would happen, since frankly there are much better things to allocate limited power and resources to than manufacturing and shipping anime DVD's. Madoka's preorder statistics indicate that it could end up becoming the best selling anime series of all time, so I can only imagine how tough this decision must have been for SHAFT. This news is disappointing to say the least, but it's great that they have their priorities so well established.

If you'd like to join SHAFT and do your part to help Japan recover, follow the link under Japan Earthquake and Tsunami at the top of our sidebar.

3Mar/118

2010 Anime Oscars: Glen’s Picks

Posted by Megan

 

Apparently Jon rarely watches anything good, so I'm doing my own version of the Anime Oscars. Actually, hardly any of the other Project Haruhi writers have watched most of these shows. A lot of them aired when I was taking a break from anime earlier this year, but I've recently dug them up after hearing a lot of positive reviews. There's a lot from 2010 that I haven't seen, but I think I've picked the best ones to backtrack first. Therefore, I'm confident in awarding Oscars to shows that truly deserve it.

You can look forward to hearing the rest of the gang's picks and more about mine on next week's episode of Bakacast.

17Feb/1111

I’m Sick of GOSICK

Posted by Megan

ALL OF MY HATE

Oh, GOSICK, how far you have fallen. Not all that far, actually, since you never managed to climb very high in the first place. It's been like scurrying up onto a small fence and then toppling over backwards off a cliff. Poorly written similes aside, this show is becoming enjoyable on a level much different than I would have ever expected. It's like a mix of Detective Conan and Commando at this point. With the right mindset, that has amazing potential.

So let's dive into episodes four and five of the best unintentional comedy anime of the season.

17Jan/111

First Impressions – Fractale

Posted by Megan

This is no Ghibli, boy. No Ghibli.

Yamakan, NoitaminA, original story, etc. The buzz surrounding this has been pretty significant, and with good reason. If you've ever wondered what a full anime series made by Hayao Miyazaki would be like (and who hasn't?), you'll get a reasonably good idea after watching Fractale. However, even the grandmaster who created Princess Mononoke had a few duds like Castle in the Sky, and this series unfortunately leans a bit more towards the latter in terms of quality. Even so, it's still quite enjoyable.

Clain is growing up in a world run by the Fractale supercomputer. It provides for everyone's livelihood, regardless of whether they actually work or not, in exchange for "praying to the day star" a few times each day. It also allows everyone to interact with others through holographic avatars known as 'doppels' without leaving their homes. Unlike most people, Clain is quite fond of wandering around and one day he rescues a mysterious girl who is being pursued by a rocket zepplin.

More hikikomori paradise after the break!

7Jan/112

First Impressions – Dream Eater Merry

Posted by Megan

She's more worried about her head being uncovered

This is probably as good a time as any to mention that I kinda have a thing for toned female stomachs. My best friend growing up was the only other person I've ever known who shared this interest, but now I can add a third person to our club: Yamauchi Shigeyasu, the director of Dream Eater Merry. He's obviously not shy about it, since I'm pretty sure Merry's bellybutton had more closeups than her face. As much as I appreciated the attention to detail on this part of her character, I was still primarily interested in what was going on everywhere else. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed.

Fujiwara Yumeji has recently been having dreams in which he is pursued by a gang of bipedal cats through what looks like New York City from An American Tale. They finally catch up to him but retreat after a rooster crows, signaling they're "out of time," but promising to bring their boss to meet him next time. The next morning, he uses his ability to see multicolored dots by looking through his fingers (I never knew this was a special thing because I always see that sort of stuff when I press on my eyes like that) to try to predict what type of dreams his friends will have that night. After hanging out with a slightly creepy teacher and talking about writing novels, he heads home and has a forceful encounter with a strange girl who wanders off after she loses her hat.

More tummy after the break!

20Dec/1010

12 Days of Anime #6: Girls Love Girls’ Love

Posted by Megan

I promise this is the only image from this series I'll use, mainly because it's the only one I CAN use

I've never been shy about the fact that I enjoy things intended for a female audience. I like the emphasis on emotions and relationships, romantic and otherwise, and the calm atmosphere is a refreshing break from the typical frenetic fare targeted at males. Despite the gender gap, most elements of these types of stories aren't alienating to me; my closest friends growing up were female, so constant chatter centering on hair, makeup and clothes is almost nostalgic.

However, there was always one point where both my childhood friends and shoujo manga would begin to lose me: boys. Not only did I have trouble relating to many of my male friends, but I was never attracted to them. So, while I enjoy the perspective shoujo stories are told from, I always have trouble sympathizing with the main character's romantic interest. That's not to say I can't enjoy and appreciate it anyway, but if heightened empathetic appeal is one of the primary draws, it certainly does bring the enjoyment down a notch. The solution seems obvious, but for a long time it was notorious for having its own problems.

More cute pictures after the break!

12Oct/107

Samurai Girls 2 – Screw the Story, We Want Fanservice!

Posted by Megan

"I see boobs!!"

Ever since I was born, I've been a big fan of boobs. They've always continued to impress me and hold my interest without ever becoming repetitive or jumping the shark. I'd be lying if I said boobs didn't play their part in my enjoyment of the first episode of Samurai Girls, and that trend continued in the second episode. However, as wonderful as boobs are, it's very difficult to make a show centered around them - other elements must also keep my attention so I don't become bored during the times when there are no boobs around. Like the first episode, this one tries to fill in the boob-less scenes with some semblance of story. However, since the initial shock of the show not being terrible has dissipated, the little flaws in the writing are becoming more evident.

This episode picks up right where the last one left off: with the sudden appearance of a well-endowed, psychotic and seriously badass female calling herself Yagyu Jubei. Even a trained ninja with a helicopter skirt is no match for her because she can run through the air on ink blots and her power level is over five million, which apparently makes her a "master samurai." However, none of this can stand up to Muneakira yelling 'stop,' and our protagonists end up in the custody the vice-president of the student counsel, Princess Tokugawa Sen.

More boobs after the break!