Summary: For the first time, I actually regret choosing to blog this anime- not because this episode was particularly bad or anything (we’ve been given worse this season), but just because I am so incredibly bored with this already. Still, I made a commitment, and someone should point out that the X-Men attacking Mastermind would be kind of a good idea.
The slow death of my hard drive and subsequent new hardware installation has delayed my anime recapping and other such activities for a bit, but you know what we haven’t had for a while? Otakubites, all the news that doesn’t fit to print whatsoever but can totally go here.
1. Guess Who’s A Baka?
Lately I’ve been appearing on Bakacast, now the only anime podcast I’m aware of that reviews currently airing anime on a weekly basis. If you’re watching Steins;Gate, [C], Soft Tenni, AnoHana, HanaIro (anything with “Hana” in it really), or X-Men, you may want to give it a listen, as we discuss them for entire minutes on end, I tell you. Also, if you want to hear Dustin, Jon, Larry and Glen riff on previous season hits like Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt and High School of the Dead, there’s always the old episodes- which don’t feature me at all, but hey, what can you do? Nothing’s perfect.
2. Spring 2011 Anime at the Moment
While I’ve discussed a fair amount of this on Bakacast already, for those who were curious, here’s my current stance on the shows I evaluated at the beginning of the season:
1. Nichijou: I wanted to like this, but too many of the jokes weren’t funny to me…or even jokes, necessarily. I may go back and finish this series at some point out of curiousity, but it stopped being weekly viewing pretty soon after it started. I also kind of hate Nano because she looks so much like Azumanga Daioh‘s Osaka, yet she is so NOT Osaka.
2. Soft Tennis– frequently stupid, but refreshingly absurd and sometimes a lot of fun. It reminds me a lot of Excel Saga at times; sure, it’s probably not as good as Excel Saga, but most of Excel Saga wasn’t even as good as Excel Saga, if you catch my drift. A lot of people don’t like it for being such a check-your-brain-at-the-door kind of show, but I have to say this for it: it delivered exactly what the first episode promised, something most shows I’ve watched this season very pointedly have not done.
Also, how long after the Evangelion TV series aired do we have to wait for other shows to stop parodying it so consistently? The Eva parodies on this show make me laugh, but I suspect it’s a cheap laugh.
3. Hanasaku Iroha– This was a bait and switch. While not a terrible show, the tone of the first episode was not maintained for long, and the protagonist seemed to lose about 100 IQ points between episodes 1 and 3. I’m still watching it, but if it weren’t for Bakacast I probably would have dropped it by now.
4. Battle Girls: Time Paradox: Another show that didn’t deliver what it promised. The first two episodes promised some silly, over-the-top time traveling, gender-swapped adventures, while the actual show after that point has been mostly dull and pedestrian. This wasn’t necessarily a terrible show right off the bat- the potential for something entertaining was definitely there- but it seems like everyone involved just got very lazy very quickly.
I’ve also been watching Astralotte’s Toy for some reason, which I didn’t write up at the beginning of the season because I had NO. IDEA. How to explain it. I think I may have to wait until this one’s finished airing to know what’s going on here.
3. @TheOtakusphere: It exists
Hey, did you know you can find out when this blog is updated by following @TheOtakusphere on Twitter? Lamentably, many on the internet are not yet aware of this fortuitous situation.
After years of using my personal Twitter for everything, I realized hey, I might want to tweet something about cake at some point, and that’s really not fair to those who follow me for anime and game stuff, not cake. So you can stop following that OTHER Twitter account and start following @TheOtakusphere for all your Otakusphere needs, and I promise I won’t tweet about cake with @TheOtakusphere account unless I’m discussing Yumeiro Patisserie or something. Yum, cake anime.
Normally I wouldn’t bother actually posting about Twitter (considering the whole purpose of Twitter for me is to tweet about posting), but it’s come to my attention that some regular readers of this blog had no idea there was a twitter account to begin with. So! @TheOtakusphere! I’ll just keep typing that name until I erode any subconscious resistance to it you may have.
Okay, the title’s misleading: Mayuri isn’t necessarily an evil mastermind. But she’s definitely a mastermind, alignment pending.
While contemplating my favorite show this season that’s not about underage succubi princesses and cognitively-impaired mutants, I got to wondering: what purpose does Mayuri serve on Steins;Gate, exactly? She’s just kind of there. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that not only is everything about Mayuri, but she must be a genius the likes of which Okarin and “Christina” can only imagine.
Here are just some of the reason why Mayuri must be the key to the kind-of-sort-of puzzle that is S;G.
Summary: X-Men takes a turn for the better this week as they’re all far too busy fighting insane Resident Evil bosses to have the time to say all of the stupid, contradictory nonsense they normally say. Also, Storm does something! Wolverine does something! Cyclops gets punched in the face! What can I say, it’s kind of a winner.
Summary: The X-Men spend an awfully long time sitting on the couch chatting, Sasaki Yui and Prof. X have one of the most patently ridiculous conversations I’ve ever seen in my life, and Wolverine takes a page out of Storm’s book and forgets what his powers do. I would say things are deteriorating fast, but they’ve kind of been deteriorating at a real steady rate all along, honestly.
Summary: What is this, I don’t even…okay, this episode. Hisako continues to mostly outperform Storm and Wolverine in combat for no reason, the X-Men continue to have great difficulty with the “the U-Men have analyzed your powers and are using them against you” concept, and everything I thought I understood about the whole secondary mutation/DHS thing is kind of thrown out the nearest window and into the snow. Lots of snow. On the plus side, Beast does stuff.
This episode certainly turned out differently from what I was anticipating. After the teaser from Episode #7 mentioned that the last episode was going to take place in Japan, I kind of assumed that Stu and the Otaku 6 were going to descend on the island nation, Team Mangaloids’ short-shorts and Dre’s unbelievable eyewear collection in tow. However, after saying a brief goodbye to the group early in the episode, we’re introduced the judges of the competition- whom I didn’t know existed until this point- and then it briefly became the Chris Wanamaker Show as America’s official Greatest Otaku toured Japan.
Chris was clearly a good choice (and he should totally host AGO Season 2 if they make one), but like everything else about this show, the final episode was split between the genuinely interesting and the baffling. Hit the jump for my final (sniff) AGO Season 1 rant.
Summary: This week, I would say Armor kicks ass and takes names, only Armor doesn’t care what your name is unless your name happens to be Emma Frost. A pretty decent breather episode is marred by some poorly animated, bafflingly dark action scenes, but on the plus side, we get to see Beast do some more SCIENCE!, and the X-Men have a pretty bitchin’ coffee machine.
I do apologize for bringing up Evangelion AGAIN, but you know, there are some areas where the two shows are opposites: in Evangelion, there’s a ton of symbolism relating to the Abrahamic faiths, but the show isn’t really about any of that; Madoka doesn’t bother with much religious symbolism (in fact, most of the symbolism is about other things entirely), but the show is literally about a girl who dies for our sins. Evangelion uses religious trappings, Madoka uses actual religion.
However, one thing they have in common is that while at first the Christian parallels on both shows jump out at you, to me the real substance of the religious material in both shows has more to do with Jewish mysticism and/or ideas that predate Christianity. Rather than being a token similarity, or the fact that one show was influenced by the other, I think it’s because both shows want to deal with religion (to the extent that Eva deals with it at all) on a more primal level, and if you want to go truly primal with religion, the year 0 is just too recent.
I said all along that the reason I wasn’t recapping Madoka was because I was too shocked after each episode to write anything, and that’s partially true, but there was another reason; it’s because I didn’t feel a need to. It’s fun to take a show that maybe isn’t appreciated as much as you think it should be and point out its nuances, but Madoka wears so much of it’s greatness right on its sleeve, I didn’t think anyone needed me to explain to them what the show was doing, or why it was so good.
For the same reason, while I did want to chime in with a few thoughts on the finale, I’m not going to go into too many specifics, because everyone else is doing a great job already- the show seems to have brought out the best in the anime community online, because I can’t remember the last time so many blog entries and response posts I read about a show were this insightful.
So if I spend a lot of this post comparing Madoka to other landmark anime, or talking about the show’s handling of religious ideas, rather than the actual plot and characters, you can go elsewhere for discussion of those things very easily- seriously, pick a website that deals with anime, someone will be saying something about this show that’s worth reading. But you’re certainly welcome to hit the jump for my personal and slightly-loopy take on it.