Dan Carroll

Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girl #2 does what Landon’t

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Oct 162014
 

God-effing-dammit! I knew that joke was coming. I knew it! It was dumb. It was predictable. And it induced in me, a bout of involuntary, real life… laughter.

I refer to the headbutt, naturally. I tried to mask it as a sneeze but man, when it predictably happened at the end there, I laughed for realz-yo.

Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girl 4 Anime of the Year for no other reason than elliciting an involuntary positive response from me. I remember only laughing for realz a couple times in the last few years. This is one of ‘em.

As for the episode itself, it’s your classic case of repeating a joke until it becomes funny. And it pulls it off.

Garo: Hoono no Kokuin #2, Kamen Rider Drive #1 & Kamen Rider Blade #1

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Oct 122014
 

Tokusatsu post, as it were.

Garo: Hoono no Kokuin #2
I’m writing this after just finishing up this episode. I liked it. I actually did. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure about episode one. It seemed above average. But I wasn’t sure if my view was clouded by my wanting a Tokusatsu based property to succeed. But episode #2 is really solid. It opens with a terrific little scene and the rest of the episode was a good mix of exposition and action with a little humor and some world building thrown in. It feels way more balanced than the first episode.

The main dude remains the weakest part of the show but next episode will feature Zaruba, so he might improve a tad. If the rest of Garo: Hoono no Kokuin is able to keep this level of quality, I’d say it’ll be one of the better straight up adventure anime of the year (note the very specific category). Between this and Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis, it looks like we’ll be closing the year with a solid batch of pure adventure programming.

Kamen Rider Drive #1
Saw this when it came out. It’s pretty decent for what it is. As with many Kamen Rider shows, especially the sillier ones aimed at kids, it opens with mass murder.

The pilot opens with an event known as the Global Freeze, which messes with everyone’s time. People suddenly freeze in their tracks or slow down, but their perception of time is still going at a regular rate. During which, monsters immune to this effect, start indiscriminately (and arbitrarily) murdering everyone. A diner full of people are shot with lasers which explode in slow motion, so they’re conscious in real time whilst they’re being blown to bits in slo-mo. Meanwhile, a giant bowling pin (or was it a bowling ball?) from the local bowling alley is knocked off the roof and is slowly about to crush a group of hapless bystanders; when suddenly, a monster jumps outta nowhere and kicks it at them. So they’re quickly smashed to bits rather than slowly crushed. That’s hilarious, since they were gonna die anyway. That monster dude’s just being a dick there.

Anywho, we skip to the future/present, where our main character is a slacker cop in a division that investigates “Slowdowns”. Blah blah blah, it’s a very kiddy show feel here. Monsters appear, our hero learns to transform and defeats them through the power of merchandise driven powers. The end.

Overall, a nice first episode and I’m somewhat intrigued for the second episode. It’s doubtful that Drive will be another Gaim, simply because Drive’s format will be 2 episode shorts, which wouldn’t be very conducive to Gaim’s style of serial story telling. The tone seems to lighthearted but not overly silly, despite the fact that magical little toy cars seem to be a very integral motif. Hopefully Drive will be solid overall and make a good gateway series for the filthy casuals, like Kamen Rider W.

Kamen Rider Gaim’s still the way to go if you’re from an anime background though. I’d recommend sticking through that till ep 4, ’cause that’s when the show stops sucking, and if you can stand it, watch till ep 14, ’cause that’s when the show actually gets good.

Kamen Rider Blade #1 (live-ish)
Supposedly one of the better Kamen Rider shows, although it too supposedly had a slow start. I’m writing this as I watch, so this might be a live-ish (edit: definitely a live-ish) thing. We open with motorcycle riding and someone fighting Batman (psst, it’s Kamen Rider Garren vs a Bat Undead). This is followed by abseiling because, DUH, what else would you do after riding a bike and fighting a monster?

The main dude is asked to hurry on his bike to go and save the guy fighting the bat monster. The guys at mission control are asking him if he wants to save the dude, if so, to hurry. But… well, we get sound effects that he’s hurrying, but our eyes tell us that he’s travelling at a very leisurely pace. Guess Blade doesn’t want to save Garren after all.

As Blade arrives to help out, we cut to the opening sequence, which is HILARIOUS given the death battle we were just witnessing. Not a bad opening though. I like it.

We get a nice chase scene out of it. Especially given the technical capabilities of the time (2004 to 2005). Blade uses Tackle! It is the opposite of Super Effective!

AHAHA! Garren just told Blade that fighting blind is no good… against a bat monster. OHOHO, oh you subbers.

More AHAHAing, the main guy returns to his apartment and it turns out the landlady rented it out while he was out of town. What a bitch (not because she rented out a tenant’s room without letting him know, but because she rides a muscle bike).

Okay, I’ve just finished ep 1 and I like it. I heard peeps saying the first few eps were slow but I totally disagree. The first ep gets a lot of backstory out of the way, considering we know this series has multiple main characters. It also sets things up for future intrigue.

While Kamen Rider’s always been about the merch, this was from a time when the merch was less obvious. So unlike the toy commercial pilots we’ve been getting for the last half dozen years or so, there’s no shilling at all in this ep. I mean, yeah, the characters have ostentatious designs and use gimmicky equipment, but this first ep is very much a straight up sci-fi/horror drama so far. The only humor is where this dude’s niece sass at him.

If this show only gets better from here on out, I might have to reassess my Kamen Rider rankings.

Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girl #1

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Oct 122014
 

11 minute short, I like it.

Of course, it’s mostly filled with retro references, but some of the jokes are legitimately funny. I for one, liked when they asked Sega Saturn what kinda guy she liked. If you’re familiar with the Sega Saturn commercials, it’s obvious what kinda guy she’s into (Segata Sanshiro, duh!). Megadrive having a book with a presumably huge library is also an obvious but still amusing design choice. And Dreamcast and her internet connectivity…

Then there’s the obvious but nostalgic school song.

From the previews, the girls are gonna get beat up by Akira from Virtua Fighter next episode. Color me excited.

Oct 122014
 

No pics because I fucking hate these, so I’mma not gonna bother looking for their pics. To be fair though, the one I truly FUCKING hate, rather than just regularly hate, is #1.

5. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
I liked the original Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. In fact, I really liked it because it was such a surprisingly good show for what I thought would be only mediocre. It had cute chibi art, decent humor and I liked all the strategies the “dumb” class used to defeat their higher ranked schoolmates.

But then season 2 came along. Remember that I said season 1 had decent humor? Well, part of the “humor” is from the “love triangle” with the main guy, the tsundere childhood friend and the smart but sickly chick. It was “humorous” in season 1 because it wasn’t overused. Well, now imagine taking all other forms of comedy out of the show and focusing on the romcom bits, oh, and take away the only thing that made the series unique, which was the class battles, and you have season 2 of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. Essentially, take out Test and take out Shoukanjuu and just leave the Baka, and you have season 2.

The main reason this show is at my least hated of the hated shows here is simply because I’ve dumped it after just a couple episodes. Why? Because the OTHER shows I hate came out first, and Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (season 2) was merely following their trend of suck.

4. Magical Lyrical Mahou Shoujo Nanoha StrikerS
The original Magical Lyrical Mahou Shoujo Nanoha started as an extremely generic magical girl show. But after a few episodes, it got better with the introduction of new characters and an actual plot for what was till then, a generic magical show based on a naughty dating sim game. While I normally don’t dig anime movies that are just retellings of the actual series, Magical Lyrical Mahou Shoujo Nanoha’s movie is one of the few exceptions. I would actually recommend a newcomer to watch that if they don’t wanna invest too much time on the franchise. Since while season 1’s pretty good, it’s not super stellar. Although I do prefer the TV version of the main villain as she’s totally unrepentant there.

But it wasn’t until the second season, Magical Lyrical Mahou Shoujo Nanoha A’s, that the franchise actually got awesome. Season 2 was action packed, balls to the wall fun. It’s one of the few anime I’ve rewatched.

Then came season 3, Magical Lyrical Mahou Shoujo Nanoha StrikerS. In a word? BOOOOOORING. The characters from season 1 and 2 have aged up and the story focuses on a buncha new characters, who with the exception of Subaru, because she’s the personification of a Super Mecha in the form of a dyke, are so booooooooooooooring. The first half of the series is composed of nothing but training, training and more training. The only times when it gets sorta awesome are when the original girls get to do stuff, but their screentime’s limited to just the occasional minute or two.

And it doesn’t help that the villains suck. Only 1 of the villains is any decent, on account of being a complete bitch, the others are pure rubbish.

Anime-wise, StrikerS killed the franchise. From what I understand, the fiction’s gone downhill since StrikerS as well.

3. Mai Otome
I loved Mai Hime when it came out. The first 5 episodes or so were quite rough, but it just got better and better until the very end. At which point, it had built up enough goodwill that I didn’t mind the ending, but I reckon if Landon watched it, he’d hate the entire series just because of the ending. Because he’s a JERK whom you can’t build goodwill with. But my insulting Landon for no discernable reason aside, let’s get back to Mai Otome, which, as you’ve guessed by now, is the sequel to Mai Hime.

Set in… some weird possible future or alternate universe or plot hole or whatever, again, we focus on a new generation of characters. And these new characters are fine. The problem is that the old characters also seem to kinda possibly still exist? But they’re pretty much nerfed as hell.

Where StrikerS was boooring, Mai Otome’s mostly just lackluster. Why that makes it rank worse than StrikerS is because where StrikerS you were excited in those rare instances the original cast got to do something, in Mai Otome, you’re left groaning that they get any screentime at all, because they’re just shadows of their former selves. This just makes them all the more disappointing.

Mai Otome would spawn OVAs, all based on the stupid-stupid-stupidly inconsistent Mai Otome universe and giving us characters that are utterly shitty. Which is ironic, because the main reason they’re shitty (aside from general shittiness) is because we the audience, don’t give a shit about them. Why should we care about some legendary character from a version of a show that’s lackluster at best?

2. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
Now we’re getting to the “good” stuff. And by good, I mean bad. Which is bad and not good, because bad hasn’t been good since the 80s and maybe part of the 90s.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that all the anime I HATE have been sequels. The reason’s simple. If I watch an anime and it doesn’t jive with me, I’d likely just drop it. So I’ve no opportunity to develop a hatred for it. With the exception of a few shows that might get amended into this list, that’s generally the case. But sequels are different. With sequels, if I liked, or perhaps even LOVE the first season, I’d stick with the sequel, even if it’s crap. Of which A Certain Scientific Railgun certainly is. In fact, I hate it for much the same reason I hate the Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu sequel, which is that it took out all the good bits and focused solely on the worst aspects of the original. But unlike BakaTest 2, I’ve actually watched more episodes of Railgun than I cared to.

Not only that, but while I really enjoyed the original To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index), the one character that I truly grew to like, was indeed, Railgun.

The Tsundere character type has been around for years. You know, the one where the girl is normally a frigid bitch to the main guy (Tsun-Tsun) but has moments where she’s sweet on him (Dere-Dere). Ordinarily, this doesn’t jive with me. Especially since most of the time, this Tsundere type is represented with the girl being a violent bitch whom we’re supposed to forgive? Uh-uh girl! You don’t get off for being cray-cray (I have no idea what that means) bitch just because you have moments of vulnerability. Abusive relationships are a no-no in my book.

But Railgun in the original To Aru Majutsu no Index was different. She was frigid to the main guy for most of the series and only toward the end, was she more dere-dere. And it worked. Her exposure to the main guy was infrequent anyway, and he didn’t exactly let her HURT him. By the end of the series, she was a character worth Squee-ing over.

Then came To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, where she’s just this… this… nerfed… braindead useless piece of shitFUCKYOUyoustupidwhoreidiot! You’re a whorediot.

Railgun went from a strong yet ultimately lovable character to some pandering lil’ otaku fantasy rape bait. Hey, you know how Nagato Yuki from the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya went from some mostly emotionless alien to… whatever the hell she became in her spinoff? Yeah, the EXACT same thing with Railgun. Except Railgun was a better character to begin with, so her fall was even worse. And this was further illustrated whenever the main guy from Index would cameo in Railgun, since those were the only times she acted even vaguely how she did in the original Index, which just reminded us of how far she fell.

But hey, as much as I fucking hate Railgun’s fall, I don’t fucking hate the anime per se. Because…

1. (FUC)K-On!!
I suppose the show’s technically called K-On!! but FUCK K-On!!.

Season 1 of K-On! was okay. Episode one had 1 good joke, which was a Detroit Metal City reference. Then we got a decently amusing and perhaps even somewhat charming run of a series. K-On! was very much Azumanga Daioh with all the bite taken out, but it had its redeeming qualities. The music was extremely catchy and spread around the series quite evenly. And we even got to see the growth of the main character Yui, from her montage in the first episode and then the last episode. Finally, just as To Aru Majutsu no Index Railgun gave us a truly viable Tsundere character, K-On! gave us a truly “moe” character in Mio Akiyama. The whole cake eating thing that’s become synonymous with K-On! was actually relatively restraint.

But then, a problem arose. K-On! became crazy popular. Which wrought the fucking sonuvabitchpieceoffuckingshitcrapK-On!!.

K-On!! not only has the worst of everything that I’ve hated on in this entire list. From removing all the good bits in favor of the shit parts like in BakaTest2, such as ignoring the Azumanga-ish aspects to focus on the whole tea drinking and cake eating and inanity; to destroying the break out character like in Railgun, such is the case with Mio; but to top it all off… the one thing that makes me HATE K-On!!, that makes me detest it with the vigor of a dozen blue suns and for me to declare this as probably the worst anime in give or take a 5 to 15 year period, is this:

It was also popular.

And because it was popular, it was imitated. It brought upon us, the Moepocalypse. Inanity became the word of the day. To this day, we still get inanity in place of entertainment, which is why I now place a show’s entertainment value at a higher importance than I once did. And this is the case because of K-On!! It wasn’t the first. But because it got popular, it won’t be the last.

I don’t hate K-On!! because it was terrible in and of itself. It certainly wasn’t great. Hell, it wasn’t even good. It was inferior to the first season (which wasn’t awesome but wasn’t too bad) in every way to the point of being on the lower-middle end of mediocrity. It was bad in every way a sequel could be bad. Even the music wasn’t as good, and it was less frequent too. BUT, in and of itself? I’ve seen worse crap.

Nein.

K-On!! is not hateful simply because it was mediocre in and of itself. K-On!!’s hateful because it spawned hundreds upon hundreds of hours of crap that’s even WORSE than itself. If it simply killed the franchise like StrikerS or Otome, that’d be one thing. I’d probably only hate it. Hell, I might not even hate it at all. It’d have been forgettable. Like Moyashimon’s second season.

But all the inane bullshit crap we’ve all had to sit through for the last 5 or so years since its release? I used to be excited when new anime come out. But now I look at their write-up and think of how likely they’ll be yet another derivative of K-On!!.

K-On!! reduced my love for anime.

So yeah, that’s why it’s the Anime I Fucking Hate.