Project Haruhi
7Aug/1122

Bakacast – Be My Dungeon Master

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I'm finally back from my exile in Minnesota and watched three weeks worth of anime in just a few days, all so I could argue with Jon. Unfortunately, he had to be responsible and go to a job interview; so he's escaped my vengeance this time. But soon, Jon. Soon, I will destroy you.

Karen's back too, and we start off the podcast by giving her a chance to talk about her Otakon adventure, which was a bit of a mixed bag. Then we lead off the review segment by ripping the disappointing final Break Blade episode to shreds. As for our regularly scheduled reviews, Steins;Gate continues to not act like Steins;Gate, Double J botches its last chance, our predictions for Sacred Seven's trainwreck potential end up being scarily accurate, No. 6 completely wastes an episode, and I finally get the chance to release my pent up rage toward Ringo of Penguindrum.

We cover:

  • 2:11 - Otakon
  • 17:19 - Break Blade #6
  • 32:12 - Steins;Gate #18
  • 40:58 - Double J #5
  • 45:28 - Sacred Seven #5
  • 52:48 - Ikoku Meiru no Croisee #5
  • 59:43 - Bunny Drop #5
  • 1:06:04 - No. 6 #5
  • 1:10:50 - Mawaru Penguindrum #5
  • 1:19:47 - My Little Pony #11 & 12
  • 1:29:55 - Listener questions

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to get through all the questions this time. So if we didn't answer your question this episode, don't worry. We'll get to it eventually.

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!

  • “Don’t get your hopes up, we’re just college students”
    Well, at least they’re upfront and honest about it. Anime Expo had some panels like this, but what’s funny is that some of them actually turned out pretty entertaining and worthwhile. Fakku is one that I think could be an amazing traditional panel if planned more carefully. It’s actually the corporate panels that make the most errors from what I’ve seen…

    Oh, the NISA LE boxsets are amazing. I have the first one of Toradora that came with a hardcover book. Really need to get onto the second season before they sell out for good…

    That’s a good question, Matt Sr. I think the main credit should go to the manga author of Madoka if you’re referring to the story. Then other credit would to the director for making it all flow together for a TV series. Innovative, though? Personally, I wouldn’t say so, as a story, at least. It’s very, very well presented as an anime, but it’s no Ulysses, know what I mean? The more I looked into Madoka the more I found more that I disliked about it, actually, but I still think it mops the floor with any other series airing at the time.
    To me, for an anime to be truly innovative it be would be challenging, stepping out of many people’s comfort zone, maybe even controversial. And knowing the anime fandom as a whole I doubt many would notice it in the first place :/

    Whoa, Dusty! If anyone’s mother gave me rum I’d be all kinds of happy.

    • The Madoka manga was actually based on the anime, not the other way around.

      Madoka managed to both step out of people’s comfort zones and be highly controversial, though a lot of the controversy simply comes from whether or not people think it’s legitimately good. As for whether or not it’s challenging, well, I challenge another studio to produce an anime-original story that is so concise and interesting. I understand what you’re saying about it not reinventing storytelling, but I don’t see why it has to in order to be good. Anyone who’s experienced in creative writing will tell you that Shakespeare would have been sued into oblivion for plagiarism had our laws existed in his time.

    • Karen

      There’s nothing wrong with college students (or anyone, really) running a fan panel, it’s more the half-assed attitude about it that was disappointing to me. You know you’re going to be up in front of potentially hundreds of people, including reporters for fan sites and whatnot, and you present a PowerPoint presentation featuring information everyone already knows that looks like it took half an hour to make? Really?

      I didn’t mean to be all like “LOL college students are terrible” if that’s what it sounded like, just disappointed in some of the panels.

    • ^It IS good. Madoka didn’t fallow the many paint-by-numbers that it could have gone, true, but side-stepping them isn’t what made it incredible, or, what at least I would call, innovative.

      “I understand what you’re saying about it not reinventing storytelling, but I don’t see why it has to in order to be good”.
      No, no, it isn’t the story itself I’m aiming at. Sorry for not being clearer, but I’m talking how it all connects by an invisible thread; the concept, story, presentation, challenging the individual’s thought process in not a convoluted way, just in a way that can offer a “way is it this way, why am I responding it to it this way? etc.” that the author/presenter wants to focus and concentrate on. It’s so broad, yet, it’s so concise and knows exactly how it’s being addressed to the audience. It’s like a good slap across the face “whoa! I’ve come to my senses… thanks!”

      I wish I had a clearer impression of how I left Madoka ’cause like I mentioned the more I thought about the story and how that characters were handled the more I discovered things that irked me. Despite that, it is a solid series that should be a shining example to the all the studios out there. Yes, I’m totally with you on that. When I think what I liked about it, though, I can only find so many things.
      No, reinventing the wheel isn’t what it’s about, which is good because it didn’t (what really does?). Thinking back to what Karen said about going back to basics, that immediately made me think back to Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album or The Velvet Underground’s first album. Dude, I couldn’t tell you tell you how much I hated, and I mean despised these albums after the first, second, even third listen. These albums are what separate the “really good” and “loads of racket” ’cause blurs the two for many, especially for their time. See, they striped themselves down to the bare essentials of music and threw their ideas on top. They didn’t break the rules, but shattered them to the point of where you wondered if what they were making could be classified as this, or that, or something else(?). But, then it settles into you, not because you forced it to. Rather, it opens up your perspective of what *you* see in music. It also kind of separates from the album you really love now, but perhaps your vision may change down the road. 
      If I had to pin Madoka to a notable album, I’d say “Nevermind”; really, REALLY good, came out of no where by-and-large, but… it’s no “Daydream Nation”. That is to say it hit marks note after note, yet, bringing in the word “innovative” and stacking it next to it… Sorry, I can call it many things, revolutionary even, but innovative by any stretch of the meaning… I got nothing. I don’t think it striped down to the essentials. Maybe take a few steps back and did things to improve upon while moving forward.
      I feel bad now for comparing anime to music albums (call me a hipster if it makes you feel better 😛 Music is obviously my first love), but maybe I haven’t watched enough anime to really call anything “innovative”. Ghost in the Shell, perhaps. Yeah, I can see that. I can definitely defend that film against anyone who would call it psychobabble, that’s for sure. Would people consider EVA innovative? It was definitly challenging, but… I won’t go into it any further :3

      If I had time to watch Madoka again I would to explain myself better instead of psycho-babbling myself! It would be interesting to see a survey of the anime fandom, even outside of it, to really get a better grasp of what this series really stands for, but just knowing it’s something I’d recommend to anyone who wants to kill an afternoon is more than say for most anything anime. Just enjoy the music (or anime), that’s what I’ll say. Let the historians have their say, but let the fans blast their stereos.

      I was wondering though what Larry thought since he’s been around the anime block a few times … ;-P

  • Ryu
    • Ryu
    • Anonymous

      Yeah, that’s the shirt I was talking about.

      As for the OP, Jon suggest it and I noticed it was only one and a half minutes long, which meant I didn’t have to slice half of it off and fade it out. So editorial mandate combined with laziness is the reason it got in.

    • Jon

      DO NOT MOCK THE ALMIGHTY FUKKIRETA! 

    • Ryu

      Whoops! I meant the ED, boy my face is red.

    • Anonymous

      Believe it or not, the song we used for the ED is the song the live-action Space Battleship Yamato movie used for its end credits.

    • Ryu

       Wow I didn’t know that Steve Tyler was still making music. Sounds like he’s still trying to reclaim that peak of

      DONT WANNA CLOSE MY EEEEEEEEEYES
      DONT WANNA FAAAAAALLL ASLEEEP ~

      though.

    • “Peak”?

      nope.avi

  • Ryu

    Oh yeah, Dustin, If you want to try some different pen and paper RPGs you should try to avoid the following books/systems (because they are awful):

    FATAL
    Black Tokyo
    Changing Breeds
    Exalted: Infernals
    World of Synnibar

     

  • Dayriff

    For Stein’s Gate, I am totally pinning my hopes on a ‘Back to the Future’ ending.  That moment when Doc gets off the ground, pulls open his radiation suit to show off his bulletproof vest, and reveals that he read Marty’s letter is maybe the greatest resolution to a time travel movie ever.

    Sacred Seven #6 appears to have found the plot again, so maybe Sunrise can salvage this show.

    I thought that ‘after the credits’ scene in Bunny Drop with the mother was informative and I’m glad Larry brought it up.  It was interesting to see character who is doing something wrong, knows she’s doing something wrong, and obviously loathes herself for it… but not quite enough not to do it.  Ringo in Mawaru Penguindrum is a bad person in a comedy way.  Rin’s mother is what a realistic person doing bad things looks like.

    Speaking of Mawaru Penguindrum, I find Ringo tolerable because she generally gets her comeuppance for her horrible stalker ways.  It’s not like she’s benefiting or reaching her goals.  Every time she does something wrong, the universe smacks her for it good and hard.

    On My Little Pony, I think of Twilight Sparkle as a grad student.  That probably ties into why the Cutie Mark Crusaders exist, which that is all the main cast ponies being adults with jobs/careers is great… but it means that you have a hard time doing cartoon plots that require them acting like children.  (And this is after all a kid’s show.)  I think they barely got away with the slumber party episode, really.  Speaking of the cast being adults, I am looking forward to your review of ‘Suited for Success’ next Bakacast.  It’s my favorite episode of the series because the underlying Aesops are such adult lessons, revolving around how amateurs should listen to professionals, the dangers of mixing friendship with business, and even one about how knowing the right people is just as important as being good at your job.  (Think carefully about how they resolve the conflict that episode.)

    Thanks as always for the careful consideration and deep answers to the listener questions!

    • Karen

      I wasn’t caught up on Bunny Drop when we recorded the podcast, and now I really wish I had been because I would have had a really different take on Masako. Yeah, she’s got major issues and doesn’t handle responsibility well, but I see WAAAAY too much of myself in her to judge her too harshly. She probably always wanted to be a manga artist and never even considered having children, so the sudden pregnancy threw her totally for a loop. I get the impression she probably wouldn’t have even given birth to Rin if it weren’t for the fact that Daikichi’s grandfather encouraged her to- saying “Don’t get rid of it, I promise I’ll give it a loving home.” Is she still a horrible person if she KNEW she couldn’t handle a child, but was basically encouraged by a third party to bring it into the world because they would give it the loving home she could not? IMO it’s a complicated situation where all the blame isn’t easily placed on her.

    • Dayriff

      Karen, I get what you’re saying.  Yes, the situation is complicated and it’s possible to see where Masako is coming from.  She’s by no means a “villain” (which is the point I was trying to make).  Even so, even Maskao obviously feels she could be doing more, but is afraid to get any closer to Rin, but hates herself for that.  Which is what makes her feel very real.

  • Madoka will result in more anime original projects? Rubbish. If Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, Bebop, Evangelion, Gundam, Macross etc didn’t result in that, then what makes you think Madoka will? It might make Shaft more willing to make anime original projects, but not anime as a whole. In the same season Madoka came out, so did another highly ambitious anime original production: Fractale

    You’ve got totally the wrong idea why producers make stuff from existing sources. Asides from a guaranteed fanbase, it has guaranteed financing from the producers of the original material. It’s been proven time and again that an anime adaptation massively increases the sales of the manga, so producers of the manga are a large part of what fund the anime adaptations. Anime originals don’t have that, so if they bomb, they bomb HARD.

    • Karen

      Do we know that shows like Eva didn’t lead to more anime-original productions at the time? I wonder what you would find if you could do some kind of analysis of % of shows based on pre-existing source material versus originals pre and post-Evangelion; my guess would be that more anime-originals probably did air in the wake of that success, even if only by a small percentage. When something is that big a hit, people copy everything about it (although hopefully not all at the same time.)

      I think whether or not the idea has merit depends on how much weight you give it- will there be some more anime-originals in the near future? Probably. Will there be TONS of them, that utterly transform the industry? Probably not.

    • Actually, financial viability was my one of the main points I made – aside from K-ON, most of the biggest and most profitable franchises have been anime-original like the ones you mentioned. Adaptations will never go out of style (not that they should) and it’s ridiculous to expect a classic every season, but I do think it will encourage studios to be more ambitious and break of the ruts they’ve found themselves in.

    • Jon

      TL:DR – Big risks can yield big rewards.

  • Pokie

    If you could, what anime would you erase from history? Except Fractale,Nichijou, and every other Marvel series? What if you had to remove an anime from history? The choices of you having to remove is:Madoka Magica, Evangelion, Gurren Laggan, or Bunny Drop?

  • Tropical

    Shameless question, but where did you find that image?

    I think that if Madoka’s success would result in anything, it would be that Shaft should look into hiring a schedule manager sometime, so they would be able to finish their projects on time.