Bakacast – Human Gel Banana

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On this episode of Bakacast, we bring one of our good friends, Jared, on as a guest. You can follow him on Twitter at @Escap3st.

Despite dropping some shows, we’ve still got a lot to get through. And, of course, we have to talk about Madoka Magica. Thankfully, the greatness of the finale seems to have infected some of the other shows this season, as OreImo, Tiger & Bunny, Steins;Gate, [C] and AnoHana all get Bakacast seals of approval (NOTE: we do not have actual seals). The rest?

Well…not so much.

Thankfully, we have just enough time left to answer a couple e-mails about OPs and EDs we like and if we should try getting Larry on a hypothetical second season of America’s Greatest Otaku.

We cover:

  • 2:29Madoka Magica finale
  • 12:06OreImo #14
  • 18:18Gosick #14
  • 26:34X-Men #4
  • 34:28Tiger & Bunny #4
  • 41:05Hanasaku Iroha #4
  • 51:49Battle Girls #4
  • 57:23Steins;Gate #4
  • 1:04:43A-Channel #3 (dropped)
  • 1:07:20[C] #2
  • 1:14:30Deadman Wonderland #2
  • 1:25:14AnoHana #2
  • 1:32:41 Blue Exorcist #2
  • 1:40:40Listener questions

If you would like to submit listener questions for a future episode, you can email them to bakacast[at], @reply them to Project Haruhi’s Twitter account using the hashtag #bakacast, or leave them in the comments below.

Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend: The Emo Album

Don’t be distracted by the A-Channel header, Steins;Gate is the best comedy of the season. Ignoring the question of whether or not this is intentional, the larger-than-life antics of Okarin and his colleagues easily outshine the actual comedies of the season with scientific glee. Steins;Gate skips through its mind-bending plot with a huge grin on its face, supported by exceptional voice acting and a cast of characters to whom overacting and overreacting is as natural as breathing air.

Despite the fact that it’s intrinsically a sci-fi thriller, the Takanashi-esque snark-offs between Okarin and the naturally adorable, albeit suspiciously noseless, Kurisu stole most of the spotlights this episode, while Mayushii and Daru continue pouring some of their own charm into Steins;Gate’s delicious cocktail. Even Ruka actually being a guy keeps being funny thanks to the variable presentation. Steins;Gate does not seem to suffer from the fact that there is a discomforting number of characters that are, as of yet, completely irrelevant to the plot –yes, you, Feyris Nyanyan- but this may change in the near future, for better or worse.

More after the break.

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Bakacast – I Want to Sparkle

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I’m sorry these podcasts keep coming out late, but my spring semester is almost over and the work is piling up. I’ll be editing and posting episodes much quicker after the first week of May. And hopefully Jon will be caught up on anime around that time so he return to his regular hosting duties.

In the meantime, we brought Scamp, writer of the Cart Driver blog, on as a guest host this week. Marvel at his soothing Irish voice as he explains exactly why no one should ever watch Apocalypse Zero. Also, this marks the first week we finally decide to drop some shows. Because watching and talking about over a dozen shows each week is kind of tiring.

We cover:

  • 3:08 Gosick #13
  • 7:11Suite PreCure #10
  • 9:27X-Men #3
  • 14:01Nichijou #3 (dropped)
  • 21:29Tiger & Bunny #3
  • 26:06 Hanasaku Iroha #3
  • 35:59Battle Girls #3
  • 40:39Steins;Gate #3
  • 46:22Sket Dance #3 (dropped)
  • 50:55A-Channel #2
  • 53:20Blue Exorcist #1
  • 59:27Aria of Scarlet Ammo #1 (dropped)
  • 1:10:56AnoHana #1
  • 1:21:05Deadman Wonderland #1
  • 1:30:00 – Listener question

You’ve probably noticed that the second episode of C and the finale of Madoka are not on that list. That’s because those episodes aired after we were done recording (Madoka actually aired a mere two hours after). We’ll talk about them in the next episode, I promise.

If you would like to submit listener questions for a future episode, you can email them to bakacast[at],@reply them to Project Haruhi’s Twitter account using the hashtag #bakacast, or leave them in the comments below.

Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend: Second Episode Syndrome

The second episode of a new anime seems, in many cases, to be the hardest. Similar to how hotshot artists need to justify their often critically-acclaimed debut with a sophomore effort, it’s here that the writers must prove that the first episode was not a lucky shot and that the obligatory plot elements introduced in the first episode are actually leading up to a compelling story. Usually it’s the second episode that finalizes the main characterisation of the protagonists; if the first episode didn’t make entirely clear who the heck we’re dealing with here, episode 2 sure will.

On the other hand, episode 2 is also charged with the duty of explaining every single plot point and introducing characters that didn’t make it into the first one, because actual characterisation and plot progress is often strictly off-limits in most first episodes. This is however not a bad thing. No one wants to watch a pilot episode that does nothing but shove bits of info and characters down your throat, hoping you’ll still remember all the names and lingo the following week.

It’s here however that a problem comes in: most writers and directors don’t seem to realize that the rules that apply to first episodes also apply to every other episode. Because of this, a lot of second episodes turn into infodump hells, doing the exact same thing the first episode tried not to.

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Bakacast – Punch It in the Gun

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Jon is absent again this week, but that’s okay. We kidnapped Thomas to help us talk about the second week of the spring season, where we still managed to miss a couple shows (Aria of the Scarlet Ammo, for instance, was released by gg two hours before before we started recording).  Somehow, even with over a dozen shows to talk about and a news section, we managed to keep this podcast under two hours. I think we might finally be getting decent at this whole reviewing thing.

We cover:

  • 2:47FUNimation licenses Panty & Stocking
  • 5:03The gg karaoke party (I’m singing on the far left, koda’s right next to me with the mic)
  • 7:47 Gosick #12
  • 14:13Suite PreCure #8 & #9
  • 18:45X-Men #2
  • 23:12 Nichijou #2
  • 28:28Tiger & Bunny #2
  • 32:57Hanasaku Iroha #2
  • 40:12Toriko #2 (dropped)
  • 45: 32Battle Girls #1 & #2
  • 53:03Steins;Gate #2
  • 1:00:45Sket Dance #2
  • 1:06:55A-Channel #1
  • 1:13:54 C: The Money of Soul #1
  • 1:19:59Macross Frontier #23, 24, 25
  • 1:33:56 – Listener question from Jon (you’ll want to click this link for context)

Bakacast – Winter Wrap Up

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Welcome to the last Bakacast of the winter season. It seems like only yesterday that we watched those first episodes, huh?

Jon wasn’t able to join us, so we kicked Fractale out the door, bid fond farewell to Wandering Son and Level E, and hosted our last Star Driver Love Party without him. We then start the first round of spring season reviews with a pretty respectable amount of anime. Expect the list, as always, to be cut in half by the time we figure out which shows we want to stick with.

And which shows we can convince each other to watch.

We cover:

  • 2:19Mass Effect animated film announced
  • 5:04Gosick #11
  • 8:37Level E #13
  • 11:22Fractale #11
  • 17:13Wandering Son #11
  • 22:11Star Driver #25
  • 29:49X-Men #1
  • 34:23Nichijou #1
  • 40:09Tiger and Bunny #1
  • 46:05Hanasaku Iroha #1
  • 54:47Steins;Gate #1
  • 1:00:49Sket Dance
  • 1:09:32Macross Frontier #21 & #22
  • 1:18:06 – Listener questions

All you bronies out there should appreciate the songs I chose for this episode.

First Impressions – A Channel


It’s hard trying to survive in the world of slice-of-life comedy with an all-female cast, as it’s virtually impossible to avoid being compared to KyoAni’s previous smash hits. So what do you do if you have been branded ‘Lucky Star season 2′ without being given a chance to come up with an identity of your own? Simple. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Once you’ve got an audience gathered, try to establish yourself in the one thing that matters: the details.

A Channel tells the story–yes, story, because they dropped some hints on there actually being character development somewhere–of four girls in high school. When Tooru (voiced by Yuki Aoi, also known for her  roles as a certain floor-rolling detective and a pink-haired not-magical girl) enrolls in high school, she pays a visit to her senior and middle school friend Run (voiced by Kaori Fukuhara, better known as Tsukasa Hiiragi) to tell her she made it into the same high school as her. However, upon entering her room, she finds her friend in a rather compromising situation with Yuuko (voiced by Mugi with a kansai accent).

Tooru boob slaps Yuuko and procedes to molest her with an invisible chainsaw, while Run introduces her to another friend she made in high school, Nagi (voiced by newcomer Yumi Uchiyama). The rest of the episode flashes forward to all the girls together in high school and focuses mostly on jokes, but also gives us some nice undertones of Tooru trying to deal with the fact that her friend has other friends now, and with Nagi and Yuuko accepting the eccentric Tooru into their group. Sadly enough, this character development is only hinted at slightly, but at least it’s better than the girls immediately befriending each other from the get-go as is the case with a lot of other slice-of-life shows.

What will happen next? (Hint: not much.) Find out after the break!

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First Impressions – Battle Girls: Time Paradox

These boobs be mad historical.

I’ve noticed recently that quite a few anime critics, myself included, have been using the term “generic” as if it’s some sort of foul sacrilege. We seem to have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything that contains tropes we perceive to be common or overused. But that’s not really fair, is it? After all, trope by themselves are not bad. Even if a show uses the most well-worn cliches in existence, it can still be entertaining if they are properly executed.

Take, for example, Battle Girls, also known as Sengoku Otome. The plot is a mishmash of elements gleaned from InuYasha, Sailor Moon and Samurai Girls, but still manages to be engaging. The characters are archetypes we’ve seen a dozen times, but they’re forceful enough to be memorable. The animation is limited and cuts corners, but still delivers where it counts. This show is profusely derivative, containing absolutely nothing original. But despite this ostensible shortcoming, a whole lot of fun to watch.

The story revolves around Toyoomi Hideyoshino, who (thanks to her unusual name) is called Hideyoshi by her classmates. She’s a recidivist slacker who prefers to spend her time reading celebrity blogs and texting, despite her plummeting grades. After a particularly stern lecture from her teacher, she decides to stop by a shrine in the hope that divine intervention will help her next test score. She happens upon a strange shadowy woman casting a magical circle in the shrine, and clumsily interferes causing the spell to go haywire. The resultant magical discharge knocks her cold, and she awakens in the fedual era near a town in flames. To her disbelief, Hideyoshi is saved by two Sengoku-era war generals, Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi… except, for some reason, these famous historical figures have been transformed into busty women with magical powers.

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First Impressions: Hanasaku Iroha

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.

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It Got Better – Nichijou 1

Nichijou teaches about some of Japan's most famous souvenirs... by dropping them on Yuuko's noggin.

The most terrible thing that can happen to a fan is seeing their object of affection losing its touch. Hipsters cry indie tears when they hear the new ‘mainstream’ album by what used to be their favorite band. Film lovers pull the hair out of their heads when they see the person who used to be a great director releasing one piece of crap after another. And I suppose a lot of Kyoto Animation lovers felt the exact same when the studio wasted another 26 episodes on the Sakura High Light Music Club and dealt the death blow with the terrible abomination that was Nichijou episode 0. But worry not, fellow slice-of-life fans: the actual show makes up for this. Kinda.

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