Project Haruhi

Bakacast – Live From Cybertron

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In this robot-tastic episode of Bakacast, me and my team of podcasters-in-disguise bring back the news segment to praise Ken Akamatsu's new online manga initiative and express our concerns for its viability. Then we move our convoy on to the reviews, where the good shows are suddenly bad, the bad shows are suddenly really good, and Squid Girl continues to be the most consistently fun show of the season.

Go figure.

Oh, yeah, and I guess there are some Twitter questions where I admit to writing Final Fantasy fanfiction, Jon accidentally encourages me to imagine myself as part of an incestuous relationship between video game characters, and we unanimously decide that Evangeline A.K. McDowell is awesome.

The anime we cover are:

  • OreImo #7
  • Panty & Stocking #7
  • Otome Youkai Zakuro #7
  • Samurai Girls #7
  • Iron Man #6 & 7
  • Squid Girl #6
  • Star Driver #7

The ending song for this episode is brought to you by JAM Project being awesome.

Obligatory Links
Larry's Fanfiction
Mor3ndo's Blog

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!

  • Anonymous

    Is there any reason why none of you watch the Noitamina shows? They tend have the most interesting shows, and even if they aren’t amazing, they are consistently good. Shiki has been my favorite show ever since it started to air. Looking back at this whole year, it may just be my favorite show of the year if it can pull off the last six episodes as well as the rest of the show.

    • Kei

      I’m not watching Shiki because I’m not really a horror fan. As for Kuragehime, it’s only available on FUNimation’s crappy low-res streaming. Being a visually oriented guy, I just can’t watch anime like that. In fact, that’s the reason I’m a week behind on Samurai Girls… because I forgo Anime Network’s low-res stream for an HD fansub.

      • You know Anime Network has HD streaming, right? It’s $6.95/month.

      • Kei

        Yeah, and it’s still crap quality. I tried to watch Highschool of the Dead on their “HD” streaming and couldn’t even make it though one episode. A combination of video compression artifacts and gigantic ugly yellow error-ridden subtitles made me ragequit. Seriously, they make Crunchyroll look good. >_>

      • And I thought you were all for supporting the legal sites? You aren’t doing the industry a favor by bashing them. You’re just encouraging people to download illegal fansubs or use illegal streaming.

        So what if the subtitles are big and yellow? At least they’re readable (unlike FUNimation’s small white subtitles). Are you really that picky?

        Crunchyroll, ANN, and TAN all run fine and look great in 720p on my computer. What issues are you exactly having with these sites? If it’s choppy video, then it’s your computer.

      • Kei

        If a business offers an inferior product, they are subject to criticism. Just because I like the idea of simulcasting doesn’t mean I’m going to unconditionally sing it’s praises, and I’m certainly not going to let these companies get away with crap quality streams merely because they’re filling a market niche. If an anime company released a lousy upscale blu-ray or a bad dub, I would complain about that too.

        Crunchyroll has low framerates and badly-rendered color gradients on most of its streams. It’s not an issue with my computer either, since it has a cable broadband ethernet connection, high-end video card and four gigs of RAM. It runs HD video from sites like Fox and CBS just fine. I’ve also spoken with several other people who’ve had the same problem with CR, but it tends to be the more visually and detail-oriented individuals (such as artists) who notice it the most. For the vast majority of viewers, I suspect they don’t have a problem with the quality, but I consider myself something of a videophile. I’m the guy who spends hours playing around in Mass Effect 2’s config file because I think 30 FPS is too choppy.

        The same quality issues are present on the other streaming services, with the exception of ANN (whose excellent video player is, I suspect, due to the diligence of Justin Sevakis). Funimation’s streams are especially atrocious, since they don’t offer anything but their most popular shonen shows in HD. A 480p video blown up onto a 1080p Samsung monitor looks pretty terrible, let me tell you.

        Keep in mind that, despite my disapproval of their shoddy products, I still support CR and the other streaming services financially. I like what they’re doing, I just think they need to step up their game. And if we, the fans, are not willing to keep them accountable, who will?

      • Somehow I knew you were going to use the “I’m a critic and I have a duty to criticize it” excuse. (-_-) Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

        If you effectively promote the legal sites, they will have more money to spend on improving the service. If you publicly bash them, you’re only hurting them. If you want to offer criticism, then submit it via the site’s feedback form. That will guarantee that they see it, and you’re not hurting the site in doing so.

        As for your quality issues, I have none of those, nor have I heard anyone else complain about them. So either it’s your computer, or you’re paying attention to obscure details that most people don’t care about (probably the latter, since you pretty much said that). That doesn’t mean the site is “crap quality,” it means your standards are too high.

        You also can’t compare an anime streaming site to mainstream TV sites like Fox and CBS. Those companies have a lot more money to spend on developing efficient video players.

        I’m not saying that the legal anime sites don’t have issues, but you saying they’re crap just because they don’t meet your personal (and very demanding) expectations is just ignorant.

      • Kei

        I’m a blogger. I’m under no obligation, social or otherwise, to help these companies maintain their bottom line. My stance might be different if I were writing for Consumer Reports or the New York Times, but I’m not. I just state my opinions honestly.So what if I have high expectations? I expect a certain level of quality out of everything I buy. I prefer a Samsung computer monitor because of its superior color and picture quality. My roommate, Dustin, might say I’m being “too picky” and that I should go with a cheaper model, and that’s a perfectly logical opinion to have. Since his computer monitor doesn’t meet my exacting standards, I say it’s “crap.” Should I avoid saying this because it might hurt Samsung’s reputation? Should I lower my standards and buy a monitor that I find inferior for his peace of mind? Of course not! Neither do I expect him to splurge on a product he considers exorbitant.The same can be said for everything from fine wine to video game consoles… and yes, even online video streaming. I have certain standards, and I’m not going to lower them merely because other people tell me I’m being too picky. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If it hadn’t been for the good folks at AnimeOnDVD complaining for years on end, I bet we’d still be getting crap quality DVDs (like my poor Slayers boxset) from FUNimation.

  • My eyesight is pretty terrible even with corrective lenses, so I’m generally not very picky about picture quality because just about everything looks a little blurry regardless. I could barely even tell the difference between HD and the old tube TV’s when everyone started upgrading. However, even I can see that Anime Network’s stream is horrendous (especially the gaudy yellow subtitles no one bothers to run through a spell-checker and take up half the screen) and FUNimation’s stream of Kuragehime is barely even watchable, although their subtitles are much better.

    The bottom line is that almost no one pays for something out of a false sense of nobility they get from it, especially if they can easily get an even better product at no cost. At the same time, most people aren’t looking to intentionally screw the industry that produces something they enjoy, since that’s just defecating in your own backyard. There are plenty of things much more worthy of your support than YouTube-quality streams that the company obviously isn’t even putting much effort or money into themselves like, you know, the DVD’s they’ve built their business around for the last decade.

    TL;DR: Support the legit stuff when they do a good job. Producing a quality product should be their top priority, since everyone knows where to get it when they don’t. And there’s no excuse for not taking ten seconds to run spell-checker.

  • I haven’t watched any of these shows, so I can only go off of what you guys have to say. I still don’t want to touch OreImo with a 30 foot pole, and more than ever now because my thoughts are reassured in Kirinos character type. Somewhat of a “tsundere” but just one for the sake of being one. God, I hate bitches. I only watched the first two episodes of Panty and Stocking and I didn’t feel like going past this point. I am not a transformers enthusiast and I never saw highschool of the dead so I don’t know if I’m going to watch it further. Squid Girl I guess I might have to start watching, if you guys like it so much. As far as the other stuff goes, I don’t feel like watching it.

    I used to read Newtype as well. The subscription was about $100 a year I think, lol. Now I think they don’t print it in America anymore. It had its perks but like you said too expensive …and the “free” stuff wasn’t really free. Now I just flip through Otaku USA every now and then. I wouldn’t say one can “read” megami so much as collect character art 😛

    I don’t watch most much magical girl stuff either …unless I can count Lina Inverse? Or Yurie Hitotsubashi. Both have powers …magical powers!

    Everyone has to mention Anime World Order and Fast Karate. It’s like street cred, or a hipster thing. I do that too. Dave and Joel are hilarious, I don’t really listen to them for anime but just to hear them crack silly jokes.

    I was featured in a fan fiction…and I was raped and the subject of various orgies. It still exists on the internet, despite my protests against my “friends” to NOT PUT ME IN THERE GODDAMIT. If you want it, I can give it to you but it takes a high mental fortitude to resist puking all over the floor.

    I’ll have you know, the bizzarro me is taking a nice nap with the fishes now. If I WERE to become the president of space, I’d have no idea to elect as my office cabinet members, but Optimus Prime and Batman would be on that list. Of this you can be sure. Thank you for the shout out!

  • Anonymous

    With this streaming quality issue, I can completely understand that if you are paying for the streams, you should have good quality. That is a given. I excuse Funimation since they are giving out their streams for free. I don’t mind that it isn’t the best quality because I am getting the shows I like fast, and for free. It is the same reason why many people would go to Youtube to watch the new Naturo episodes, since they just wanted to watch the show and didn’t care about the quality. To compare it video games, Xbox Live is something you have to pay for, because of this the online experience is a little bit better then if you play on PS3 and you get more perks by paying for Live, however the PS3 online play is free. I like to support Funimation’s streams as I do want to own that show on a higher quality bluray or DVD, and even if it doesn’t really factor in them licensing the DVD rights, though I like to think they do.

    As for actual show things, I have subscribed to Otaku USA, and I use it for the reviews. A lot of the shows are featured in it before they are released and helps decide on some shows I am interested in buying, but have no other way to watch it. (I wish netflix would actually get every anime dvd, but they seem to be selective.) Also every so often, Crunchyroll has a deal with Otaku USA to have a year subscription for only $10, so keep a look out for those as $10 isn’t that much for a year of a magazine. Hell, I (and you probably) paid over $10 getting just one issue of those pricey Newtype USA’s.

  • I actually get my anime reviews from Amazon. Pretty broad views there sometimes.
    For anime currently airing in Japan, Twitter I guess. I don’t really hold any specific place to make the final call of quality. I watch, read, or play something, then listen to critiques. Agree or disagree, I still hold my own judgment.

    Online manga – I don’t know how they’re going organize the titles. It sounds more organized than what Tyokopop is doing, at least. Actually, I’d like to see the two idea emerge; get the manga that already scanlated, set up the payroll to the proper parties, find a *reliable* and *consistent* way for people to read these online manga.
    But, yeah, how exactly are they going to get advertises, or even promote this service? Guess we’ll see. I’ll try it out if they get something like YKK or get into light novels like the Boogiepop ones that Seven Seas haven’t got into publishing.

    OreImo – you know what I think is going on now? The reason Kyosuke is allowing Kirino to dog him so much and that Kirino is trying to pull him in so much is because they really want to be siblings. Sounds obvious, but like Glen mentioned, after years of isolation and neglect pretty much, they see a chance to finally mend that, so they’re putting up with each other. It’s awkward because they simply don’t know how to react because they’ve been so distant for so long. Some families are like that, like long distant relatives they try to make up loss time all in one gulp.

    Larry made a good point, too. Kirino doesn’t have experience with males around her age it seems, and Kyosuke seems pretty oblivious to females in his age group, too, exampled by Manami, so somehow bro & sis reach a level of interest and security that is apparently filling in a huge gap. Also, there doesn’t seem to be jack going on in their lives so maybe they want the drama? There’s go to be limit somewhere.

    Then again, this is all assumptions because the writing feels so cramped in this episode and the story could go in any direction at this point!

  • Actually had an audible gasp when you guys crowned Panty & Stocking with a 5/5. Maybe you guys aren’t a bunch of haters after all. Nah. You’re still haters. But hating is fun… so I can’t hate on that.

    I really want to give Iron Man a fair chance, but your & everyone else’s reviews haven’t made me much more interested. To be honest though, I just don’t care at this point. If you can’t make Iron Man awesome in 6 episodes, then you’ve failed. You’re trying too hard.

    • Kei

      Usually when somebody accuses us of being haters, they’re a hater themselves. Just another example of psychological projection.

  • If I could answer that transgender transformation question?
    Blue from Pokemon Adventures Rgb Saga.
    So’s I could get it on with silver.