Project Haruhi

Bakacast – LOVE ME!!

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Bakacast, hasshin!

We start off this episode by debating the role of 'liberated sexuality' versus feminism in American comics, then we take advantage of the lull in between seasons to get a couple of extra reviews in. First we discuss the psuedo-cyberpunk film Mardock Scramble: The First Compression, then the live-action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato. After our regular anime reviews Dusty and Glen fangirl over the finale to My Little Pony's first season. Finally, a listener question from somebody named Instant Milk sparks off a discussion about the merits of flat chests versus jiggly boobs.

Please email listener questions to bakacast[at] or leave them in the comments below.

Note: I originally intended to use the Madoka Rap as the OP, but its lyrics are a bit too NSFW for the podcast. Listen to it here instead.

Time Index

  • 00:00 - OP: TAKE9 by Yoko Kanno


Reviews et al.

  • 14:24 - Mardock Scramble: The First Compression
  • 31:27 - Ikoku Meuru no Croisee 12 (END)
  • 39:10 - Hanasaku Iroha 25
  • 46:03 - Dantalian no Shoka 11
  • 53:32 - Mawaru Penguindrum 11
  • 1:02:48 - My Little Pony 25-26 (END)
  • 1:15:03 - Space Battleship Yamato
  • 1:29:56 - Listener Questions
  • 2:06:20 - ED: Shinryaku no Susume

About Jon

Jon is a Japanese culture enthusiast, professional pervert and roleplaying fanatic who appreciates flexible gender identities. He enjoys science fiction, Gunpla, classical music and Red Stripe.

  • I love Fooly Cooly simply for introducing The Pillows. Matter of fact, I got my e-mail handle that I use for LQ from them. Someone already took InstantMusic, so I just went with my second favorite thing after music.

    You got to listen to their albums that weren’t featured on the series.
    Brace yourself for this one:

  • Ryu

    Did the director of that episode of My Little Pony 25 watch Welcome to the NHK ’cause it sounded like one of Saitou’s many, many psychotic episodes.

    • Jon

      “…the only male villain to be given significant screen time and development in Dantalian is depicted as a noble adversary.”

      Huh? Did you forget about the insane magician Count Melgar in episode five? He was a prominent male villain that was just as crazy and selfish as the rest. How about all the drug addicts in episode seven? Or the male bartender in THIS VERY EPISODE? I wouldn’t call him ‘noble’ in the least.

      Or are you simply determined to paint this show as sexist no matter what? Considering it’s had plenty of crazy male villains (such as the aforementioned count) and at least two strong female characters (Camilla and Fiona) who both actually proved more apt at solving the episode’s problems than the main protagonists, I’d say your argument is misguided.

    • Ryu

      Except all of those characters’ portrayals are almost entirely different from the female antagonists. I’ll give you that  one drug addict. They are always portrayed as seeking power/ wielding their power over others in a calculated manner, a even “noble” noble, whereas almost all the female antagonists are represented as being victims of their emotions in an outrageously hysterical manner, resorting to underhanded tactics when confronted. Also what? none of the male antagonists were given anywhere near as significant development that Ilsa was given in episode 11.  

  • I didn’t mention this on the podcast due to time constraints, but I wanted to expand on why specifically I don’t care for Touhou doujins. I found this particular page while looking up a translation of the manual for Ten Desires:
    The last paragraph is the main issue, specifically this sentence: “Youkai teams sometimes go out to gather humans for cooking (a delicacy to them), hiding their activities with magic (lost people, accidents, etc).” So, I know from playing the games that no one can take five steps outside their front door without something shooting at them or trying to eat them (or both), so now the Touhou universe just seems like a huge fantasy-themed Thunderdome where humans are trapped with dangerous, powerful supernatural beings and have no choice but to make a living out of it. The dialogue in the games is more lighthearted than that, but it’s consistent with the premise. However, every Touhou doujin I’ve ever read has been slice-of-life comedy/romance and seems completely detached from everything I know about the games.
    I appreciate that it’s basically a yuri goldmine, but it’s also another aspect that really bothers me. If artists are essentially just borrowing character designs and names, why don’t they create their own original manga and try to get it published? Yuri anthology magazines are always struggling, as many of the artists who create for them also do non-yuri series which make them more money. Do they feel they need to borrow from Touhou in order to have an established target audience for their works? Obviously, many of them legitimately want to create doujins for this franchise. Still, the way that personality traits are often completely invented for the characters in doujin works makes it seem like many simply use it as a veneer in order to publish their original stories which they feel would not be otherwise read. While I know from being a writer myself how valuable an audience is, it really doesn’t do the commercial yuri industry any favors if their talent is constantly being diverted to doujin works.

    That said, I would totally read a doujin where Reimu finally has enough of the youkai bull**** and just starts trying to kill everyone; as long as it actually seems like an extension of the games rather than a complete invention by the artist, anyway.

    • Ryu

      In the grimdark future there is only touhou

  • Anonymous

    Questions: Did/do any of you watch any adult-oriented animated American shows (Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, South Park, etc.) and if so what are your thoughts on them, both at their peak and now?

    (Dustin) you mentioned that you’ve played D&D 3.5 and 4 as well as Pathfinder a few podcasts ago, but you didn’t say much of what you think of the rule systems. It seems to me like 3.5 and earlier versions were an unbalanced mess, particularly with regards to magic and high levels, while 4 went way too far in the balance/MMO direction and introduced immersion breaking stuff like healing surges.  Your thoughts?

    Also, I’ll have to try Fooly Cooly again.  The dub I caught on Adult Swim a couple of times seemed like a random-joke trainwreck; perhaps it was a translation problem?

    And I have to echo your sentiments on Party of One. Definitely just a little over the line, and unsettling to watch at times, but so many good moments that it’s still pretty darn good.  I’m probably just fanboying here, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the sum-up of the series as a “solid kids’ show,” probably because the average kids’ show these days is dreck and even an above-average one is probably not worth watching past an episode or two.  Oh, and the S2 pilot… I don’t want to ruin any surprises but since you’re a long time Star Trek fan, Dustin, I think you’ll be really happy about what they did with it.

    • Jon

      On the Hub, an ‘average’ kids show is Transformers Prime, GI Joe Renegades, My Little Pony FIM and so on. Hasbro has set the bar pretty high for themselves, and FIM is just one product of that commitment to quality entertainment. They’re finally realized what the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network failed to… that kids shows can still be well-written and intellectually challenging instead of dumbed-down dreck.

      And if it helps them sell more toys, more power to them.

    • Ryu

      counterpoint: I should read posts before being a dork!

      edit: MMOs own

    • Jon

      Fear not. You’ll always be a dork to me. <3

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I was probably being unreasonable with that comment, and I came back here to clarify it a little. I was just having an argument with someone over whether the show was too “kiddie” to be reasonably watched by normally functioning adults, so the continued emphasis on kids’ show hit me kind of funny. I really liked the show reviews overall, though.

      Although, I do want to say: don’t forget that Hub also has shows like Strawberry Shortcake and Pound Puppies. Although even Pound Puppies was handed off to the MLP studio in the middle of season 1, and apparently they brought in all of the Rugrats voices for an episode, which is intriguing… Hub is really pointing out that Cartoon Network has gone incredibly far downhill.

    • Jon

      On the contrary, it’s not unreasonable to assume that most kids shows are crap. It’s true, for the most part. The Hub is kinda the exception that proves the rule.

    • Anonymous

      Okay, so here’s my somewhat detailed opinion on D&D 3.5 vs Pathfinder (aka 3.75) vs 4:

      D&D 3.5 was nice because it gave players a lot of options. And I mean A LOT of options. There were so many base and prestige classes and races to choose from that it was possible to play virtually any character you could think of. However, that plethora of options–along with poor initial class balancing–led to class “tier lists” that you pretty much needed to follow to be effective. And since mid and late-game spellcasting was so broken, any class without some kind of spellcasting was automatically a sub-par or even terrible choice. This was especially the case with melee classes (though Tome of Battle went a long way toward making up for the disparity).

      Pathfinder kept most of the core rules of 3.5, but made tweaks to balance and simplify some of the more obtuse parts of the system (rules for grappling, tripping, bullrushing etc. are combined into a single, straightforward attack roll, for example). And while it doesn’t nerf spellcasters (so a Pathfinder wizard will be nearly as powerful as a 3.5 wizard), it gave the other classes significant buffs that makes them competitive with each other. There are almost no bad classes. Honestly, I don’t think I would ever go back to 3.5 after playing Pathfinder.

      4th is an entirely different beast, though. Some people don’t like that it makes large simplifications to character building and think the combat system feels too much like a videogame. Personally, I like that there’s a more accessible option to D&D where you can write up a first-level character in 20 minutes instead of an hour. And it helps that most of the classes are very well balanced, and spellcasters no longer steal the spotlight (a Ranger is just as good at dealing damage as a Sorcerer, for example). That said, the mechanics of the system do emphasize combat over roleplaying, and all of the WotC published adventures reflect that; and I can see why 3.5 fans would reject it. Personally I really like both systems and think it’s great for the pen-and-paper community that both Pathfinder and 4th can exist and get regular updates.

      A caveat to 4th, though: I’m not a fan of the “Essentials” edition. I feel like it simplifies the game TOO much and hate that almost completely removes the fun of picking new abilities.

  • Kazu

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  • Karen

    Figures you guys would wait until the podcast I’m not on to declare Matt Smith the best doctor ever:(. Although my problems with current Who have a lot more to do with Moffat than Smith, so I’m not gonna fight about it.

    I was surprised to hear you guys so down on Penguindrum, I thought that was a really interesting episode- then again, I had just watched the first Utena boxset, so I was probably in an Ikuhara-friendly mindset.

    @Nissl I assume we’ll probably attack this as a listener question, but I love Family Guy and I make no apologies:). Okay, maybe SOME apologies…that Conway Twitty thing was stupid. The Simpsons I could never get into, I think I see what people see in it but the characters just never clicked with me for some reason.

  • Diz1992

     You noted that the Sarin gas attacks occured on March 20th 1995 correct? That same day the band the “Beatles” released one of their singles “Baby It’s You” their first album in nearly a decade.  Ringo’s name means apple in Japanese. There’s the occurring theme of the number three.

    Also care to play Pingo?