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The Ten Most Disappointing Things About Pan de Peace

BREADS
As the Spring 2016 anime season comes to a close, we’re left with little more than a gnawing sense of regret that we spent too much time watching anime when we could have been playing videogames instead. Out of all the shows I wasted time with when I should have been consuming Odin Sphere Leifthrasir in bed, Pan de Peace was the most disappointing. Here are just a few of the reasons why….

1. It Wasn’t Polar Bear Cafe

To be fair, this is the most disappointing thing about 99.9999% of all anime. Even Space Patrol Luluco suffered the fatal flaw of not being Polar Bear Cafe.

2. There Were Only 10 Breads

I went back and counted, and there were only 10 different breads featured in the show– and the only reason why the final tally is that high is because I counted “Melon Bread” and “Crispy Fluffy Melon Bread” as two distinct breads, which I was under no obligation to do. Now, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think a 13-episode bread anime should feature at least 13 different breads.

3. No Bakery Wars

The show introduced warring bakeries Fuwa Fuyu and Guillame, yet at no point do the two engage in any kind of bread-based competition. As Anton Checkhov famously said “If you introduce two competing bakeries in the first act, there damned well better be a sourdough bake-off before the end of the cour.”

I mean, I wasn’t expecting full-on Yakitate!! Japan antics here (well okay maybe I was, but that’s because I’m a glass-half-full kind of person), but I don’t think a three-minute baking competition somewhere over the course of the show was really too much to ask for.

4. No Bread=Boob Comparison

For a bread show with overt lesbian overtones that featured not one, but several bath/swimsuit scenes, the fact that they never did the inevitable joke where they compare everyone’s breasts to different types of bread represents nothing less than a complete ethical breach of contract with the audience. I can’t believe I sat through the whole show and I never got to hear anyone say that Fuyumi’s breasts were like luscious cinnamon buns and Noa’s were like cute little garlic knots.

…and no, that time when Minami hugged Fuyumi and said that her body was soft “like bread dough,” does not count; that is an entirely different joke, and if you watched as much bread anime as I have, you would know that.

5. No Bread Lightsaber Battles

Speaking of things that never happened, the show introduces the concept of French Bread being used as a weapon, and then does nothing with it. I think they mention it maybe once after Noa’s introduction, but they never have an actual battle with baguettes being used as lightsabers. Like…how do you do that? How do you, in good conscience, make an anime about bread that introduces bread lightsabers in episode 2, yet never does a bread lightsaber battle? Whatever made them think it was okay to dangle that in front of the audience and then take it away? What did we ever do to them?

6. They Never Told Us What It Means To Be a Bread Buddy

Sure, you could be forgiving and assume that ‘bread buddy’ just means “a chick I eat bread with.” However, I would have preferred a Death Note-style outline of the rules, so we could learn exactly what being a bread buddy entails. Like:

RULES FOR BREAD BUDDY

1. Eat bread together
2. Don’t talk about Bread Buddies (unless your mouth is full of bread).
3. If you see someone eating rice, rip it out of their mouth and replace it with French Bread.
4. If they persist in eating rice, impale them with your French Bread Lightsaber.
5. Be sure to say “I can’t even BREAD!” at least once a day.
6. Kiss a girl and like it.

See, I could ask you to be my Bread Buddy. But thanks to Pan de Peace‘s shoddy world-building efforts, I wouldn’t even know what I was asking for. I could end up in Fluffy Melon Bread heaven, or hanging upside down with a limited edition ciabatta sandwich stuck up my ass. That sounds dangerous.

7. No Lesbian Orgy During the Sleepover

Honestly I didn’t have a problem with this, but my husband insisted that if I was writing a list about the most disappointing aspects of Pan de Peace, this needed to be on it.

8. We Never Get To See Yuu’s Manga

It’s bad enough that, by law, each and every anime must have at least one manga artist among its cast. However, if you’re going to make someone a mangaka, let us see the goddamned manga. They do a whole episode ostensibly about Yuu and her manga, but we only get to see one shitty demon bear drawing(?) and never the actual manga. I’d like to think that Yuu’s manga is some kind of bread/magical girl hybrid, featuring a Noa-chan doppleganger who uses crumbs like magical fairy dust, but now I’ll never know.

9. The Last Episode Had A Recap Segment

They thought that they needed a recap in Episode 13, because we might not remember all the different breads they ate over the course of the show (which wasn’t that many, SEE ABOVE).

Think about it: Someone involved in the production of a 3-minute anime, including the opening, said “You know what we could use right now? A recap episode.”

10. Some Episodes Didn’t Even Have Bread In Them

Seriously what the fuck

Anime Rescue: Spring 2016

Four times a year, dozens of young, bright-eyed anime characters are set loose upon the world. As joyous as this miracle of nature is, sadly, every season many characters are deployed to the wrong shows, leading to much unnecessary stress and existential angst. For the cost of just one Cup Ramen per day, YOU can send an anime character to where they’ll truly thrive; away from the unappreciative jerks on their own shows.

Let’s learn more about this season’s crop of unfortunates, and what you–  no, what we ALL– can do to help. Continue reading Anime Rescue: Spring 2016

How Not To Investigate Gamer Identities

Back when I wrote my short Gender in Gaming series, I lamented the lack of good-quality academic papers on gaming freely available on the internet. Thanks to scholar Christina Hoff Sommers’ Twitter feed, I’ve just learned of a new journal, Press Start, that seeks to remedy that. At first I was pleased with this development, until I read the journal’s call for papers for a special issue called “Negotiating Gamer Identities.” Then I reminisced about my old, horrible college honors seminars, cried over my Milton textbook for about an hour, and decided I needed to go through this, piece-by-piece. Continue reading How Not To Investigate Gamer Identities

Final Fantasy VIII and Literary Criticism

RINOA

Note: All quotes from the game taken from Shotgunnova’s Script FAQ.

Warning: This post is going to devote a lot of time to analyzing a theory about Final Fantasy VIII, a game that is now 17 years old, in incredible detail. This is probably going to seem pointless and obsessive, because it is pointless and obsessive, but I’m going ahead with it anyway for two reasons:

  1. I love Final Fantasy VIII. Always have, always will.
  2. The way said theory is typically discussed in FF fandom is to me indicative of a larger issue within the gaming community, which is that– despite the leaps and bounds the medium has made in garnering critical attention– most gamers still have no use for anything that resembles literary criticism. I think that’s a bit of a shame.

Continue reading Final Fantasy VIII and Literary Criticism

On Disgaea and Giving Birth

One night, my water broke while I was watching my husband play Disgaea 5. At the time, he was playing a map that involved killing dozens of versions of the same character, Asagi, in order to level up his units. I don’t know what Ms. Asagi could have possibly done to deserve this, but apparently killing her indefinitely is the best way to level up your characters in Disgaea 5, until they have stats higher than the number of protons in the universe. I can’t be sure, because while I had my own save in D5 as well, I was not yet up to the Asagi-genocide portion.

We do this a lot lately.  I sit on the couch and sip tea while Wilson plays through games, and only if I really like them do I bother to do an entire playthrough myself. Maybe this makes me less of a gamer, but it’s a pretty relaxing way to spend the odd weeknight. Besides, this way I get to make snide comments about the game without being distracted by the chore of actually having to play it. Wilson is kind enough to pretend my contributions are witty; this may be why I am currently having his children. Continue reading On Disgaea and Giving Birth

Starting an Otaku Podcast, Take #4056

animepodcastimageI love podcasts. I love hosting them and I love listening to them. I even sometimes love editing them, as much as that can be like pulling teeth if you have cohosts that love their “ums” and awkward pauses.

And yet, I haven’t been part of a podcast for quite a while. TimeForceAnubis & co. were gracious enough to have me on as a guest on NTR Radio sometime in early 2015, but I haven’t hosted my own show since a while before that. To make a long story short, I want to do that; I want to have my own otaku-themed podcast, free from any outside site affiliation or what have you. I have hosting, I have the software…in short, WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. It can be done. Continue reading Starting an Otaku Podcast, Take #4056

Too much of a good thing?

You know, I really haven’t been very creative lately. Part of the reason for that is that when I get a buzz to do something creative, I’m so overwhelmed with options that the result is a complete creative paralysis. I’m aware that this is pretty much the ultimate first world problem (“Oh no, I have simply TOO MANY CHOICES available for my spiritually nourishing creative pursuits!”), but it is something of an issue in my life at the moment, thus not beneath mention– in part because I’m pretty sure I’m far from the only one having this problem. Continue reading Too much of a good thing?

Nope, Still Censorship, Batgirl

Batgirlvariant

“Hmm, is this image perhaps inappropriate for the Batgirl comic?” Maybe ask these questions BEFORE soliciting your product, DC.

I wasn’t going to blog about the decision to pull a variant cover for Batgirl #41. I’m not a reader of the comic, and Twitter user @JennOfHardwire has already done a good job going over it from the perspective of a fan of the franchise. 

But then I started seeing comments about how the decision to pull a controversial variant cover after internet outrage wasn’t *really* censorship, because: The cover was off-brand. It’s a bad choice for a youth-targeted book like Batgirl. The artist himself agreed to pull it, etc. etc. etc.

This…really bothers me. I think all of the above can be true, yet refusing to publish a piece of art due to complaints is still censorship.

Continue reading Nope, Still Censorship, Batgirl

The Problematic Launch of Offworld.com

Regular readers of this blog may be scratching their heads at the title. “But Karen, don’t you hate the world problematic?” Well yes, I do. However, the launch of Offworld— a new gaming site that claims to be “an unequivocal home for women and minorities”— reminds me of Girlamatic.com, a now-defunct site that was meant to be for webcomics “(mostly!) by and (mostly!) for” women. For some reason, the title of an article critical of the site* from vaguely 2001-ish, titled “The Problematic Launch of Girlamatic.com,” has stuck in my mind, some fourteen years later. That was about the last time you could use problematic before it just got silly, I think. In any case, Offworld reminds me of my thoughts at that time, so it just felt like an apt title, out-of-character as it may be. Continue reading The Problematic Launch of Offworld.com