Here we are at the tail end of the Summer 2010 season, with hardly anything worthwhile to watch. As Bakacast listeners know, we at Project Haruhi are having a hard time finding things to like in the anime we review each week. It’s getting pretty desperate here, such that we no longer care if the flat, uninteresting characters in shows like Highschool of the Dead live or die. Thankfully that is where Working!! comes in. This lifeline of hope was thrown to me by a friend who knew my despair. “This should help! This is moe as we remember!” she said as I sobbed into her arms about my lack of faith in moe. I remember her smile was like a ray of sunshine, boosting my confidence. Happily, she turned out to be bang-on correct. Read on to learn why she was right!
This is a guest post written by The Austin Critic. Check out his blog here!
I don’t get Highschool of the Dead. There are times when it’s trying to be a gritty zombie show, and other times when it’s a completely over-the-top, fanservice filled action show. For example, the previous episodes had scenes which featured realistic weapon handling and a few uses of strategy, giving me the impression that this was a realistic portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. The next minute however, the main characters suddenly gain the abilities of Schwarzenegger and start dodging bullets, using weaponry, driving CG military vehicles into hordes of zombies and plowing through countless undead with melee weapons. It also doesn’t help that the fanservice just stops any chance that anyone could take this show seriously. This episode was further proof that this series is having an identity crisis, as one minute it decides to show the mental conflicts that Saeko has gone through before and during this zombie apocalypse, only to completely discard this serious subject matter with fanservice.
Read more after the break.
We’ve got a new co-host this week! We call him Glen, but you might better know him as Nagato, a long-lost friend and one of the original founding members of Project Haruhi. With him by our side, we start off by discussing Oxford’s hilarious and misdirected attempts to understand anime culture. After that, Chris gets all nostalgic about his very first manga, Love Hina. Finally, we move on to this week’s anime reviews.
WARNING! If you are the kind of fan who blindly worships any anime he enjoys, you might want to go elsewhere. We don’t hesitate to criticize these shows in the snarkiest fashion possible, which means a certain degree of intelligent and critical thought is required to fully appreciate our reviews. If you’re going to accuse us of being haters or trolls merely because we didn’t like one of your favorite shows, just don’t bother. I’m sure a site like Sankaku Complex or 4chan would be more amicable to your tastes.
Many people have been talking about the the recent lull in the anime industry, both in Japan itself and abroad. The question is, does this lull spell the doom of anime as some have predicted? Or is it just a temporary setback for an industry that’s too mighty to perish? Well, to answer this question, we need to take a good look at the history of anime. This is an informative ANN article giving a good overview of the size of the anime industry over the last forty years. Of particular interest is this chart, a bar graph representing the growth of the industry since 1970.
What is quickly noticeable is the big boom around 1990, which is the time conventions began popping up in the United States and also when series like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma ½ were being released. Again, the industry sees another impressive climb by 1995, which is when Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell were released. Moving into the new century, anime received increased exposure on cable television in the United States in the form of Toonami, which featured Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing starting in the late 90’s, and Adult Swim with Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Lupin III and FLCL into the early 00’s.
Many of these shows were critically acclaimed and financially successful in North America and the volume and quality of anime being produced and subsequently licensed overseas saw something of a golden age, noticeably peaking in 2006 at nearly 220% higher than just 11 years prior. The future of the industry was bright, many series were being licensed for North America before they even finished their initial television run in Japan, and it seemed like the world couldn’t get enough of Japan’s fastest growing cultural export.
But could the industry maintain that unprecedented success? Find out more after the break!
Oh boy, the new Oxford Dictionary of English is out! You know what that means… it’s time for bloggers like me to pad out their slow news days by overanalyzing any new pop culture terms Oxford added. Let’s see, this edition’s new words include staycation, vuvuzela, bromance, hikikomori…
Wait, hikikomori? Seriously?
noun (plural same)
(in Japan) the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males
a person who avoids social contact
Origin: Japanese, literally ‘staying indoors, (social) withdrawal’
Wow. I guess the hikki phenomenon is so famous that even Oxford had to take notice. Their definition is surprisingly accurate too. Color me impressed, Oxford. And here I thought your dictionary was woefully ignorant of pop culture trends. I wonder what they have to say about other anime-related terms…
Find out more after the break!
Let me tell you something about myself that you may not know: I don’t like living in a bubble. I tend to browse other anime forums and blogs, because I like seeing what other critics have to say about the shows I’m watching. Often times I’ll find at least one intelligently-stated point that I didn’t think of, which is always a fun experience for me. However, as I was looking over comments about Highschool of the Dead, I noticed that there tends to be a pattern in the backlash toward negative reviews. Some fans believe reviewers like me aren’t being fair to the show.
“Why are you judging it so harshly?” they ask. “It’s not supposed to be deep or meaningful or smart. It’s trying to be silly, flashy fun!”
And you know what? Maybe they have a point. Maybe I’m approaching the show all wrong. I mean, if its goal is to be shallow, pandering, inconsistent and misogynistic, then why should I criticize it for hitting the mark?
Truly, I have seen the light; and to celebrate my epiphany, I’m making this review an extra-special one. I’ve decided to put as much effort into it as the writers of Highschool of the Dead put into their show.
It’s stupid, it sucks, and I hate it.
What? You want to know why I don’t like HotD #7? You think what I wrote is far too brief and vague to be of any use at all as a review?
Well of course my review is shallow, boring and worthless. It’s supposed to be! Since I’ve clearly met my goals perfectly, it wouldn’t be fair to post negative opinions about it.
Suck it, critics!
Have we mentioned breasts yet? We have? Okay, just making sure. It seems like a pretty good way to get a bunch of listeners.
Anyway, we start of this week’s podcast by talking about the most popular anime and video game names Japanese parents give their kids. Though we each had different favorites, we all agreed that it would be super awkward to name your daughter after a character you own a wallscroll of.
After that, we take on:
There’s no Sengoku Basara 2 review today, because I’m an idiot and forgot to watch the most recent episode. GO ME!
Gainax is a Japanese animation studio that’s long been famous for pushing the envelope. Ever since their first Daicon productions, they’ve been going beyond the impossible and creating anime that challenge viewers and defy genre conventions. Of course, not everything they make is a hit, and they’ve had their fair share of unexceptional (but still well-made) series like Hanamaru Kindergarten or He is My Master. Regardless, anything they produce is worth at least a quick look for any self-respecting otaku.
That said… what the hell is up with their new fall season show, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt?
Here’s the basic premise, as far as I can tell. Panty and Stocking are two angels sent from “the upper region” to fight ghosts on Earth. They take up residence in Daten City (along with their dog Zipper, who bears a striking resemblance to GIR), where Panty spends most of her time sleeping with men, and Stocking does… uh, goth loli things. When threats appear, these girls transform their clothing into weaponry: Panty’s panties turn into a gun, and Stocking’s stockings into a sword.
Despite knowing the basic plot, Panty & Stocking is still a complete mystery to me. The art style looks like an homage to every great American cartoon of the past fifteen years; an ecletic mix of Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Invader Zim. So is this a kid’s show? No, the advertising material we’ve seen thus far seems to indicate an odd mix of mature and juvenile themes. Superpowered girls fighting giant monsters with weapons made out of their lingerie? Who exactly is this show trying to appeal to?
If anybody can make such a ludicrous concept work, it’s Gainax. One thing is certain… nobody knows quite what to expect from this show. However, given the creative talent behind it, I’m hoping for something awesome.
Check out the gallery of Panty & Stocking images below the break, and leave your own theories in the comment section!
With the summer season halfway finished, it’s time to start drooling over the new fall season anime. Since Chartfag has not yet released his usual new anime chart, a couple of other bloggers have stepped in to fill the void. This chart from The Cart Driver seems to be the most accurate thus far. Click on the thumbnail followed by the little green arrow at the bottom of the lightbox to see it at full size. Bootleg PVs for some of these anime can be watched here.
Here are the anime I’m planning to watch and why.
- Star Driver: I’ve been thirsting for a new giant robot show for a while, and this one looks pretty promising.
- My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!: I’ve heard good things about this light novel series from moe fans. It looks kinda generic, but hopefully will be entertaining enough to fill the void left by K-ON!!.
- Iron Man: Dude, it’s friggin IRON MAN animated by MADHOUSE. Everybody is going to be watching this, myself included.
- A Certain Scientific Railgun OVA: I’m a huge fan of Railgun, and there’s no way I’m going to pass up a chance to see mai waifu Mikoto again. Bring it on!
- A Certain Magical Index II: See above.
- Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls: This seems like brainless fanservice action fare, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Sometimes you find a good show hiding among the muck.
- Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt: This surreal show looks like a mix of Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack. Can Gainax deliver another instant classic, or will it flop like Hanamaru Kindergarten?
The rest of these shows simply don’t interest me. If any of them get good reviews, I’ll consider picking it up… but just going by their descriptions alone, I doubt they’ll be worth watching.
How about you? Do any of these shows strike your fancy, or are you gritting your teeth for yet another mediocre season?
So, remember when I said last week’s episode of Highschool of the Dead was the worst one yet? Allow me to amend that statement.
Episode 6 is even worse, by a large margin. It’s misogynistic, insulting, stupid, and some of it doesn’t even make sense. In was a complete and utter waste of my time, and I probably lost a few hundred brain cells just watching it. I kid you not, it’s quite possibly one of the worst episodes of any anime I’ve ever seen. And that’s counting Angel Cop.
So if you really want to know why HotD has inspired such rage in me, click the jump.