Project Haruhi
7Jun/1140

Bakacast – K-ON! with Credit Cards

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Karen of the Otakusphere joins us once again as we struggle through another frustrating week.

This time, though, she and Larry surprise us with their positive impressions of Soft Tennis. Expect Glen and I to at least try and catch up, if only to witness the bear fight. In other news, the final episode of OreImo leaves a sour taste in our mouths, Gosick goes back to its regularly scheduled incompetence, Tiger & Bunny fails us for the last time, X-Men is decent for a change, Steins;Gate has its first misstep, and Glen makes a startling realization about [C].

All this and more embarrassing stories prompted by listener questions!

We cover:

  • 2:20 - What we've been doing
  • 12:46 - Soft Tennis
  • 22:30 - OreImo #15
  • 33:07 - Gosick #19
  • 41:17 - Tiger & Bunny #9 (dropped)
  • 47:39 - X-Men #8
  • 54:33 - Hanasaku Iroha #9
  • 1:02:03 - Steins;Gate #9
  • 1:15:58 - AnoHana #7
  • 1:22:07 - [C] #7
  • 1:31:13 - Listener questions

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

About Dustin

Dustin (aka Stilts) enjoys playing and yelling at video games, especially RPGs. He also likes super robot shows... the more outrageous the plot, the better!
  • “Some of the worst writing I’ve seen in this entire series.”

    Yes. Yes… With an ending like that I’m kind of wondering if I would take the “good” end over this one. Hell, the point of these few more episodes, for that matter. Kyousuke just threw any morale built up at that point when he, for the zillionth time, bent backwards when he really didn’t need too.
    Can we have a Saori X Kuroneko spinoff now? Please?

    Oh, wow… I’ve only been to one convention (anime, of course), and, like Glen, I didn’t see anyone act like they got off the bus from The Betty Ford Center. Then again, I’m a SoCal native, so… I did see a women carry one of those “classy” lolita-esque dolls like a baby at a panel. :/

    Haha, Larry. I would have taken your mother’s reactions as two ways; “Let’s pretend we didn’t see that…” or “That’s my boy~♥!”. Aren’t moms great!

  • Ryu

    Yeah so I skipped through episode 7 of softenni to try and find the bear fight but all I’m getting is panty shots and ridiculously bouncy boobies and then them playing tennis wearing their swimsuits to a crowd of drooling boys and feeling each other up so it’s definitely not that one

    • Ryu

      Ok, I’ll bite and check out soft tenni

      right

      now

    • Karen

      Whoops, I guess the bear fight was episode 8.

      Soft Tennis is really silly, but IMO enjoyably so; I hope I didn’t oversell it as something its not, because that wasn’t my intention.

    • Ryu

      It’d probably be enjoyable if it wasn’t doing T&A on 14 year olds, cause that’s p gross!

    • Jon

      Yeah, and according to Gurren Lagann, Yoko Littner was fourteen. But that didn’t stop them from showing her bouncing boobs and supple ass at every opportunity. Not to mention that Asuka and Rei of Evangelion are supposed to be fourteen as well, yet their sexy proportions and skintight plugsuits have made them well-known sex symbols.

      The point is, they’re not REAL people. Getting all worked up because some otaku is drooling over a fictional teenage hottie is pretty silly, if you ask me.

    • Jon I agree however, that line between fictional and real gets blurred at times… it’s up to the viewer to remember which is which. Although that kind of exploitation won’t wash in the “Real” world, one has to remember that and hopefully never the twain shall meet.

      Ruy I see your point as well…

    • Jon

      Sometimes I think the self-appointed moral guardians who unfailingly condemn fanservice have more trouble distinguishing fiction from reality than those who simply enjoy it.

    • Ryu

      Now, now, let’s not resort to personal attacks, there’s little point in inciting people over the internet. Thank you for taking the time to respond though.

      I doubt either of us are going to change each others’ minds, being old and set in our ways, but there is nothing wrong with a little discussion to pass the time.

      However, I find it pretty disingenuous of you to use Yoko’s age within this argument because the “universe” she exists within is entirely absurd with little grounding in reality and both an homage and parody of trends within the super robot genre. As such the age of the characters is entirely inconsequential beyond broad categories such as “young,” “teen” “young adult,” “old” and so on because of the lack of a frame of reference and that their ages, to my recollection are not referenced within the text thus creating a level of distance between the audience and the show itself. On the other hand, within softenni the character’s ages are deemed important to the text because of the context (middle/high school), as well as the fact that each character gets their own placard announcing their personal details in order to inform the audience that yes indeed, these are ordinary 14 yr old girls who are exploiting themselves for you the viewer. As such the Yoko comparison is a false equivalency and dismissible. Also the possible assertion that the distance created by Gurren Lagann’s absurdity is equal to that of softenni is false as well, due to the fact that the show uses reality to contrast with the absurdity in order for its gags to work. On the flipside this does not give credence to the notion that sexualizing child-like characters that are older than they look is acceptable either, because the author could just as easily appeal to the audience without exploiting a perception of minors.

      And please, take note: I have nothing against fanservice, what I do dislike however is when it drifts into blatant exploitation that removes the character’s agency and perpetuates unhealthy ideals and myths that can be and are damaging. Media is influenced by society and vice versa, as it is used to communicate values, expectations and ideas that can serve to sway or entrench those held by the audience, constant repetition and display of those things will have an effect of acceptance if it is shown to be the norm.

      I also find the “plugsuit” comparison a little inept because those feed more into the conception and birth metaphor than runs throughout Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I’m honestly hard pressed to think of a time that the skin tight suits were exploited for fan service (other than the second rebuild movie, which I do take issue with though it doesn’t reach the levels of softenni). The people that do exploit the forms of Rei and Asuka are obviously divorcing them from context, because I really really hope there isn’t anyone enamoured with the idea of either a bipolar manic depressive or someone who is constantly faced with their own mortality and expendability, as well as practically a cancer patient (Rei has to be regenerated pretty often in LCL if I recall correctly) as something to be sexualised and objectified. It would be similar (but not necessarily equal) to objectifying Shinji.

      In any case, I apologize to the folks at Bakacast for eating up so much space with a derail when you’d obviously be more concerned with feed back and topics related to the podcast itself. In which case; what kind of compression are you using on the audio? Each sample of the Bakacast has been quite large for a while now (~100mb) this may just be a result of my funky internet/computer, but it’d be great if I could fit more of your stuff on my ipod.  

    • Jon

      Honestly, that just reads like a long, weak rationalization to me. “Exploiting fourteen year old girls for fanservice is fine, as long as it’s in a context I enjoy!”

      In any case, Gainax has been pretty shameless about including schoolgirl fanservice since Gunbuster. And honestly, if they didn’t mean for us to ogle Rei and Asuka, why did they include several scenes of the former completely naked and the latter rubbing her boobs to make them bigger with “thermodynamics”? Anno can claim all he likes that he was trying to make these fourteen year old girls seem disturbing and alien, but he has willingly exploited their sexualization for merchandising purposes and included plenty of fanservice in his Rebuild movies. Or is Anno divorcing these characters from a context he created himself?As for objectifying Shinji… I remind you that he crossdressed in Asuka’s plugsuit once, and even had a steamy implied yaoi relationship with Kaworu. Just sayin’.

      Also, Rei was never ‘regenerated’ in LCL, as I recall. She was injured but the first few episodes, but recovered quickly and was healthy for most of the show… at least until she was vaporized. Perhaps you’re thinking of the tank full of Rei clones?

    • Ryu

      Thank you for responding! I apologize for the late reply.

      Narrative context is everything when examining how a character is portrayed because without the story there is no character, just an out of context form that is divorced from the intent of the author, and please don’t put words in my mouth, I was actually pretty annoyed at Yoko’s problematic portrayal in Gurren Lagann. Despite being one of the “original trio” she is one of the least developed characters in the series, even less than Kittan, getting perpetually sidelined especially after the timeskip, until returning with a really awful outfit and then is sidelined once again. Your age argument for Yoko still rings false because in the context that gives her character meaning age is meaningless beyond those broad categories I mentioned due to the distance created by the series from almost any frame of reference in regards to that aspect.

      I find your Evangelion examples to once again be pretty inept unless you are younger than you seem, because the point of Asuka holding her breast and talking about expansion was to reveal that she is actually similar to Shinji in that she is actually pretty bad at dealing with people, due to not only her condescending attitude and the fact that she is ignoring the context and implications of her actions. Also nudity is not always fan service, I don’t know where you got that notion from! It’s often used to highlight vulnerability and fragility, which Rei certainly is, as well as link the character back to childlike naivete and purity, it being the state that you were born in. Furthermore, I would argue that the original Evangelion series is divorced from the Rebuild movies because there was a massive five year gap between the end of the production of the series (including EoE) and the conception of the movies, in which the author’s circumstances changed dramatically (going from depression to happily married), as well as Evangelion being in circulation for just as long, allowing the popular misconceptions of the characters to take root in the industry, be perpetuated, and possibly even influencing Anno himself. Honestly for all the spectacular visuals, the Rebuild movies are pretty regressive in comparison to the original series, being much more like the myriad of super robot shows the original subverted.
       
      As to Shinji being objectified? I’m afraid we cannot continue this argument in good faith if you continue to divorce your examples from their context and view simply the act of cross dressing (which was used to emasculate Shinji and display Asuka’s domineering nature) or the suggestion of homosexual intimacy as fanservice. Also, saying Gunbuster somehow justifies a show like Softenni is pretty disingenuous because it has been 23 years since the OVA aired and entered circulation, the objectification of its female characters with fan service being very much a product of the time, displaying unhealthy, regressive values on that account that should not be emulated in this day and age.

  • Anonymous

    A great podcast as per usual with truly honest opinions, just how I like them. 

    As someone who’s loved pretty much all of Steins;Gate so far, i have to agree that ep9 was a bit of a slip up. But nothing compared to the majority of shows this season, and i’ll say that I loved the last scene with the ED theme playing over Kyouma’s realisation.

    But Glen, stop hatin’ on Necron! sure, he got like no development whatsoever save for a bit of ambiguous dialogue from Garland, (who himself was introduced and killed within a fairly short time frame) but at-least he was harder to kill than Yu Yevon…

    Right?..

    • Gameplay aside, you can’t pretend that was good storytelling.

    • Ryu

      It would have worked if they had made more allusions to him throughout the story instead of cramming all the exposition in moments before the fight. It was oddly rushed for a game that had so much attention to detail.

      Oh well, at least it was better than 8. I have no idea what was even going on in that one.

  • Strabo

     You really mention where the OP and ED music for your podcast comes from.

    Which brings me to my next topic: Where’s the OP music from the podcast from.

  • Anonymous

    Yet another impressive podcast.

    My experience with Oreimo’s final episode could only be described as… mixed. At first I was enjoying it, but then, Kirino sent a text message reminding me that she was alive and not exterminated by the Daleks like I forced myself to believe. Seeing her make contact with the outside world made me scream, and I quote, “THE DEMON RETURNS” at the top of my lungs, a reaction that hasn’t occured since I saw Vicky Guerrero’s return to WWE after the Edge vs Ziggler feud. But what really bothers me is that Kyouske, while being a very likable character and more realistic, is the most unrealistic person when it comes to his sister. Kirino has, prior to the series, ignored his existence most of their life, and in the course of twelve episodes physically assaulted Kyouske to the point where even a saint would be brought past their limit, while Kyouske knows this, but still begs his sister to return to Japan, a country that would probably trade her for Godzilla if she were a real person. That and Kirino herself are my biggest problems with this show. Everything else is fine, but even the writer of the light novels hates Kirino.

    And wow, you dropped Tiger and Bunny. Who knew Sunrise would suck at anime that isn’t mecha?

    • Ryu

      Weird, I thought the light novel author was dead set on having him jump his sisters bones and Kuroneko fade into oblivion

    • latinalover

      @Ryu in the game kyousuke and kirino get married and have kids

  • Anonymous

    Ah, and I wrote something for you on iTunes. Hopefully you get stickied onto the top five.

  • Dusty, ‘bulls***’ was still a swear word last I checked.

    • Anonymous

      OH NOOOOOOOOO!

    • Anonymous

      Dusty, how could you?! THESE EARS OF MINE, THEY WILL NEVER HEAL.

  • Anonymous

    @Ryu_01:disqus Actually, Kyouske dates Kuroneko for a while. And no, the author hates Kirino, which says something about how horrible a person Kirino actually is. I like all of my characters in the stories I write, even the despicably evil Iago-inspired ones, but this author seems to detest the very character the series is based around. Also the author confirmed no incest end.

    • Ryu

      Yo thanks for the reply!

      Huh that’s actually pretty surprising but why were they even dating in the first place? It really sounds like the dude/gal thought pandering to the “niche” that consumes the stuff featured in the series would get em the big bucks but then backed out when they realised just what they were doing and that they hated the object they had worked so carefully to construct.

    • latinalover

      because kyousuke and kirino are not blood related. they most likely get together

  • Dayriff

    OreImo – As good as it has been in parts and as much as I have enjoyed individual scenes, OreImo was over after episode 5 or so.  Kyosuuke reconnected with his sister and supported her in learning to enjoy her hobby with other people.  Everything since has been one extended incest tease.

    Gosick – When we first learned about Victorique’s background, it sounded pretty standard.  A nobleman has an affair with a dancer and takes responsibility for his bastard daughter, but he hides her away.  Then it got darker and darker.  Even up until this episode I was thinking, “Well maybe he seduced Cordelia….”  This episode made it pretty clear.  Cordelia was raped, probably repeatedly, to make her bear her rapist’s daughter.  (And I noticed you avoided the “r-word” in the podcast.)  In fact, I’m pretty sure the birth scene was like it was because they were showing you that to suggest that Victorique’s conception was pretty much the same.

    The reason I bring that up is that it explains a lot of Cordelia’s attitude towards Victorique and possible why she hasn’t contacted her.  Cordelia says she loves her daughter, but she obviously has some mixed feelings.  I don’t think it’s a practical reason of her not being able to talk to Victorique as an emotional one.  Cordelia wants to protect her daughter but can’t bear talking to her rapist’s child.  And we’re outright told that Brian Roscoe despises Victorique and is in this to help Cordelia and because he’s playing his own game with the Ministry of the Occult.

    Hanasaku Iroha – Your review didn’t quite come across clearly as to why you gave this a 2.  It didn’t seem like you found much wrong with it, simply that it wasn’t thrilling you.  That’s usually “3” territory.  And I thought the end of the episode, with Ohana’s strategy paying off, was obvious but nice.  She got a win.

    Stein’s Gate – Their dialogue after the timeline shift suggested they were still there looking for the IBN computer.  (Which makes sense; Feiris’s father would have bought it originally it well before the point where the timeline was diverted.)  Though I should just say, obviously something is keeping portions of the timeline intact enough so that D-Mail gets invented at all.  If that were butterflied out, there would be no show.

    • Karen

      I think it was the combination of the bland dialogue and the facepalm-worthy handling of the whole Ko-chan issue that made us give HanaIro a 2. I did like the fact that Ohana’s strategy worked, but it wasn’t surprising.

      With S;G, you’re right-they probably were still looking for the IBN. Now that I think about it that makes sense, but I just have trouble keeping track of anything with this show >__<. It seems like the timeline is deliberately being maintained so certain things stay the same, no matter how improbable.

  • Anonymous

    @Ryu_01:disqus He doesn’t seem like it. And the series has been good with character interaction save anything with Kirino in it, so I’m guessing Kyouske was developed to get over his fear of a relationship and dated Kuroneko, who liked him in the first place. I haven’t read much of the LN to be honest, so much of what I say is conjecture based on the way the series goes. They break up in the latest one, I heard.

    • Ryu

      Whoops, I read Kuroneko as Kirino for some reason!

      In any case the reason it seems like the author is pandering to me is that no counter argument is given. You don’t see the negative side for going too far in your obsession, in fact they go so far as to giving Kirino licence for her own anime which is entirely absurd and self indulgent. It also doesn’t help when her father, a cop, offers no better argument against her consumption of anime and eroge than a strawman “you’re underage. the tv told me it turns you into a bad person” specifically designed to marginalise detractors as unthinking consumers of populist media, failing to realise the irony in that the focal relationship in the series is also founded on the basis of a media consumption with its own bias and perpetuations that can inform and reinforce someone’s perspective. I’d say that’s pretty hard core when it decries all other viewpoints as oppressive or ignorant in order to further its own idealised version of events. 

      The sudden removal of Kirino really makes it seem the author is back-pedalling on the previous before giving into popular pressure for her contrived return.  From what I’ve heard this show would be better off if it was called “my little sister’s best friend is actually p cool.”

      And using incest as a hook in a story should be something no one has to ever lower themselves to do.

      That said, I could be wrong. Oreimo may turn into something of a coming of age story or satire (although there is the matter of Poe’s law) and develop in a meaningful way that enriches the story as a whole and I will gladly rescind my statements when it and if it does so.
       

      e: Jesus Christ that sure is a lot of words about animes.

  • Anonymous

    @Ryu_01:disqus And I’m pretty sure the incest thing was to get the hardcore otaku hooked. The series’ secret name could very well be, “I can’t believe it takes sixteen volumes for my little sister to act like a normal human being.”

  • Anonymous

    >in fact they go so far as to giving Kirino licence for her own anime which is entirely absurd and self indulgent. That doesn’t go against my overall viewpoint.

    >It also doesn’t help when her father, a cop, offers no better argument against her consumption of anime and eroge than a strawman “you’re underage. the tv told me it turns you into a bad person”

    I’m pretty sure most parents wouldn’t desire their middle school daughter playing siscon eroge, but I’m not one to put words in parent’s mouth. He was against her going into it probably due to the fact that yes, he hates anime, and he believes it will rot your brain, but that’s because anime to Japanese parents is much like video games to American parents who are trying to get their kids to study more than shoot at the Covenant zealous xenos as Master Chief. And considering how Japan is inundated with tabloids decrying anime beyond that of the Akihabara killings which he knew about and researched, it’s not too farfetched to believe that he would be influenced by the overwhelming volume of otaku criticism, orjust doesn’t want his children to be associated with a hobby with such a horrid reputation . He’s just an overprotective Dad, and I didn’t find him to be a badly made character.

    >specifically designed to marginalise detractors as unthinking consumers of populist media, failing to realise the irony in that the focal relationship in the series is also founded on the basis of a media consumption with its own bias and perpetuations that can inform and reinforce someone’s perspective. I’d say that’s pretty hard core when it decries all other viewpoints as oppressive or ignorant in order to further its own idealised version of events.

    Unfortunately Japan does suffer from that problem where they trust the media and the government’s words, not to mention the country suffers from a culture that constantly demands perfection and conformity to an unbearable level. I understand that the show has exaggerated about reality, but that’s expected, considering that the show is an anime and wants to paint their situation in a way that they seem to be more of a victim than they actually are.

    >The sudden removal of Kirino really makes it seem the author is back-pedalling on the previous before giving into popular pressure for her contrived return.  
    I took it as an exorcism. But seriously, yes, I agree. The return of the Japanese Anti-Christ herself wasn’t well handled.

    >From what I’ve heard this show would be better off if it was called “my little sister’s best friend is actually p cool.”

    Or “My Domestic Violence Lawsuit Can’t Go Any Smoother” might have been a good hypothetical title.

    >And using incest as a hook in a story should be something no one has to ever lower themselves to do.

    Hey, it worked for Sophocles.
    I see what you mean. But perversion does find itself as the premise of many anime. Astralotte, Kampfer, Bible Black, Panty and Stocking, Highschool of the Dead being good examples, anime gets away with quite a bit.

    >That said, I could be wrong. Oreimo may turn into something of a coming of age story or satire (although there is the matter of Poe’s law) and develop in a meaningful way that enriches the story as a whole and I will gladly rescind my statements when it and if it does so.

    I see it as an anime with a nothing-special storyline, but an intriguing look into the anime community among other things. There was plenty of social commentary. The stigma and harshness the otakus are treated in school, the reputation of the Otaku community in Japan in general, refuting the Akihabara Killings as a legitimate argument against anime, moebros vs DEEPfriends (Kirino vs Kuroneko) and their constant arguing about what kinds of anime are better, and, the only thing I liked about the Kirino-gets-an-anime episode, a critique of anime studios that pass over complex, original stories for cookie-cutter anime they’ll know will sell well and Kuroneko’s take on how mangaka and light novel authors handle it when the studio cut segments out and make changes to the story in the name of profitability. That and the non-Kirino character interactions made me like this anime. That’s my take on it. I respect your opinion, and even if we do disagree on some points I hope I didn’t offend you with anything I said.

    • Ryu

      You make some excellent points, especially regarding the portrayal of the father, but I feel like they didn’t express his and other’s perspectives as well as they could have and it’s frustrating.

      In any case thank you for taking the time to read my posts and respond in such a level headed manner. Kudos. 

    • I agree with your last point TO THE MAX. Even though anime/manga series has dwelled into otaku culture itself ten-fold in recent years, OreImo kind of observes and tries resolve some of it in some (cliched) way. That’s what kills me when the writers bring back Kirino and Kyou into a PPV match event in every other episode. The whole younger sister trying to mend her eroge hobby and popularity in a balanced way premise was interesting in itself, but after the third/fourth episode it didn’t proceed in that direction.

      This kind of fits into last week’s question of how to handle adaptions. I haven’t read the novels to OreImo, but I’d be hard pressed to pick it up if it’s written anything like what was shown in the anime.

  • Anonymous

    @Ryu_01:disqus Such is the case with most anime. The side characters are very interesting but not all of them are developed or focused on because they aren’t extremely consequential to the plot.
    And of course. It’s always enjoyable to discuss something one enjoys. Fun things are fun.

  • Anonymous

    @736f490d5b1edb45fe1e64b3b56e1ffa:disqus I’m afraid to speculate too much, and I can hardly bring myself to do so considering how someone could control the chaos that the Butterfly Effect can wreak on changing the timeline(s), but I’m sensing an actual shadow organization. SERN may have a sub-department that’s dedicated to tracking time travelers or something to that effect. Something along the lines of a Time War may be going on between John Titor and SERN?

    Then again, this could be the budding Doctor Who fanatic talking. At least we have twenty four or so episodes so there’s ample time to explain away the nuances.

  • Anonymous

    @Ritsu:disqus Yep. There’s no law against having a waifu under 18. Except maybe in the Tokyo Prefecture.

    • Age of consent in Tokyo is 17 last I checked.

  • Anonymous

    OreImo was decent, but like you, the whole ending just killed me.
    If this weren’t the last episode i wouldn’t have minded it much, it is the fact that it ended in such a crappy and terrible way. I really did like this anime, but this ending really threw it down on my list of good ones.

    I personally want a second season, because then they could at least patch up this ending, and maybe come up with a more suitable one. Aside from this ending and a few other scenes throughout the series, it was a pretty enjoyable.

  • Anonymous

    @FatPianoBoy:disqus Oh, that’s cool. Still too old for Char Aznable, but it’s reasonable. Either way, have you guys watched Steins;Gate episode 10?

    All I can say is you asked for it.