Yes, I still watch anime. Just not as much as I used to, and not the same kind of stuff that I used to. Here’s a quick run-down (alphabetically, for lack of a better sorting order) of what I think I’ll be sticking with through the rest of the season:Continue reading
I just finished watching the end of the Fractale anime for the 2nd time. I watched it weekly as it originally aired, and now I own it on Blu Ray. (It was on dirt-cheap sale.)
While processing the show’s ending my brain made a very silly, very random connection between Fractale and something else I watched recently: The Black Widow movie.
There’ll be spoilers (of a sort) after this point, just so you’re warned.Continue reading
I’m led to understand by some folks on Twitter that Netflix’s new translation for Neon Genesis Evangelion changes one particular line from one particular character, and what this tells me is that the folks behind Netflix’s new translation are blissfully unaware that NGE is, at least in part, a harem anime.
Shinji collects three of the four more prominent haremette types over the course of the show.
1) The tsundere. Obviously this is Asuka.
2) The cipher. Obviously this is Rei.
3) The childhood friend. This role is basically left un-filled.
4) The vamp. Obviously this is Kaoru.
At least one of the three is honest and direct about their feelings, right? (Somebody in that benighted band of broken children might as well be, and guess who that ends up being.)
My life itself isn’t anything to write about, as it’s really just “eat sleep work lather rinse repeat” for the most part. I decided to share a bit of how I spend my leisure time lately, though…
- I finished Martha Wells’ “Murderbot diaries” novella series (starting point: All Systems Red). I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re at all into Sci-Fi style adventure heavily seasoned with snarky commentary and a few musings on the place of non-human sentient beings in a mostly-human society.
- I… keep trying to finish Cat Valente’s Space Opera. I see rave reviews and while I get why people love it, I suspect it’s better for folks who can handle audiobooks as the writing style is clearly meant to be read aloud. It’s a love letter to Douglas Adams as much as it’s anything else, and I can’t deny the craft. It’s just… a bit too much. I can get through a chapter at a go, then I have to walk away from it for a while. Weeks, sometimes.
- I dabbled in Warframe and Diablo III on and off this past few months, and that’s about it on the PC side.
- My phone has AFK Arena, Pokemon Go, and Egg Inc installed, only one of which takes very much time on any given day.
- My (new) tablet runs Valkyrie Connect and King’s Raid, both “gacha” style games, as well as the superb match-3 game, Gems of War. I can also recommend mobile version of the Ascension deck-building game.
- We just started the new Aggretsuko season (so far so good) and after that we’re probably going to tackle Good Omens.
- I took Kyla to see the new Godzilla movie in the theater for her birthday and bought her the Blu-Ray of Shin Godzilla, so we’re having a grand kaiju-loving time, indeed. (We enjoyed both, quite a lot.)
- Also in the theater, we saw Captain Marvel (loved it) and Avengers: Endgame (not so much).
- The only anime this season I’ve cared about at all is the Fruits Basket redo, which has been a delight thus far. Everything else has left me cold.
- I delved into the back-catalogs of Mono Inc (2013’s Nimmermehr) and Assemblage 23 (2004’s Storm) and so far I’m pleased with both purchases. I don’t expect to go much further back, however. I like where each act is headed, musically speaking, more than I’m interested in where they’ve been.
- I finally broke down and forked over a lot of money for Yuki Kajiura’s Fiction II which… was not as good as I’d hoped. Sigh.
And that’s about that, entertainment-wise. If I forgot something, hey, that’s fodder for another post…
Right off the bat, a nitpick: Why no Oxford comma, Netflix?
During my young-adult years I frequented Cinema 21, the best-known at the time of the arthouse theaters in Portland Oregon. Among their regular attractions were the various animation festivals, such as Spike & Mike’s (who are apparently still at it, go figure). You’d get all sorts of weird, wonderful, and occasionally dark fare. Not all of it worked for everybody but there was usually something for everybody.
I also discovered the Japanese animated anthology film (technically an OVA but I didn’t know that at the time), Robot Carnival, during this period. It had robots, it had weird artsy ideas, it had funny bits, what more could I want?
Netflix recently announced their anthology series, Love, Death & Robots. The advertisement was intense. The buzz was… loud, I guess. Sci-Fi! Action! Humor! Wacky hijinx! Naked (albeit CGI) boobies! It seemed like something the arthouse animation-festival-going side of me would enjoy immensely, not to mention the appeal to the guy who nearly wore out a VHS copy of Robot Carnival.
So, why didn’t I enjoy it immensely?
Maybe I just got too old for this stuff. For all the high-end cutting-edge technology on display, several of the creators involved got too carried away with the fact that they were going to get to show grotesque horrors, naked women, or both in the same short film. Sometimes simultaneously. Which could have been fine in and of itself, but out of 18 short films fully one third were off-puttingly violent and gory (not to mention, in several cases, spectacularly brutal to the female characters).
And then there’s “The Dump” where we see a gangly old man with his pants down around his ankles, among other things. Deep sigh.
We’re also living in an age where everything’s 3D-animated already. It’s not like in my arthouse movie days when computer-generated animation was super primitive. (Go watch The Mind’s Eye videos if you don’t believe me.) Among other things, this means that you can’t really get a “wow” out of the audience with technology alone. It’s all in how you use it. Apparently, “how you use it” boils down for some folks to “super maximum-resolution gore, plus high-polygon boobies.” Hmm.
On the upside, one sixth of the anthology’s film count is made up of adaptations of John Scalzi short stories. No bonus points for guessing that these (“Three Robots,” “When the Yogurt Took Over,” and “Alternate Histories”) provide a sizeable percentage of the fun to be had in the entire run time of the series.
I got a kick out of “Suits” as well, featuring farmers with home-built mechs defending their homes against alien invasion.
Of the military sci-fi available, my favorite was definitely “Lucky 13.” My least favorite was “Shape-shifters,” which… was adapted from work by the same author as “Lucky 13.” Huh. Well, one of the two short films told a story, the other just kind of… showed us things happening. Maybe it just wasn’t for me.
The arty-est of the art films on offer here are the vivid and poignant “Zima Blue,” and the weird, beautiful, and disturbing “Fish Night.” And on the improbably weird but still rather adorable side, there’s “Ice Age,” about a tiny civilization living in an ancient icebox. I’ll also give points to “Good Hunting,” which I would kind of like to see expanded into a feature or short series or something. Vigilante shape-shifting robot-bodied mythological creature in a steampunk China? Yes, more of that.
Right near the end, a quibble: Shouldn’t there have been more robots in an anthology with the word “robots” right there in the name? Mind you, should’ve been more love, too. “Death, Robots & Love” might not have sold as well, I suppose.
Should you watch this anthology series? Eh. If you don’t find the gore and violence of a lot of the entries off-putting, then yes. There’s some good fun to be had here and some clever spectacle along the way. There’s some serious nightmare fuel as well (“Beyond the Aquila Rift,” especially) so… be warned.
As for me, I’m going to go spin up my DVD copy of Robot Carnival…
I watched a few first episodes from the newly current season of anime, thanks to the modern miracle of legitimate for-pay streaming services. I have some thoughts, or perhaps I should say I have some dire warnings. Let’s get this out there while the memory is fresh and I have the inclination to hold forth on the topic, shall we?
Girly Air Force – Hapless dude who wants to be a pilot gets involved with the cute-girl-looking AI avatars of super-airplanes that fight some kind of enemy super-airplane force and oh boy, it’s Arpeggio of Blue Steel only in the air instead of on the ocean. And cheaper. And terrible. The only thing I really enjoyed about the first episode was the required Childhood Best Friend character, and she couldn’t save this mess. Transplant her into something better and we’ll talk.
Domestic Girlfriend – Is it okay to be done, very much done, with the “incest by marriage” trope going on lately? Because I’m very done. What’s worse, this show seems to be trying to do some interesting and serious drama… except that every few minutes they throw in some kind of brief wacky hi-jinks to unbalance the tone of the thing. No, nothing in here makes me want to stick with it. I kind of dislike everybody except the parents, and the show’s not about them, so.
Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka – This one’s a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it’s occasionally very violent on a level I don’t really enjoy. On the other, there’s an interesting thread to it about a girl who’s had one save-the-world battle too many against absolutely fiendish enemies, and she’s trying to learn to be less broken. If they could lean on that aspect I might be tempted, but I’m willing to bet that there’s enough of “the old ultraviolence” to keep me turned away. Friend Wonderduck indicated he might be tackling this as a review subject. I hope he does, because I’m very curious to see his take on it and find out how the show pans out.
The Price of Smiles -Â Well it’s nice to see Hestia from Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon is getting more work. Seriously, the character design for the princess character here is nearly identical. This seems like a somewhat fluffy sci-fi giant-robot romp at the outset. I’ve no idea where it goes from here, though. I think I’ll stick around for a bit on this one to find out. Expectations are set at a medium-ish level.
That’s all so far. Hopefully this season will give me something to look forward to with actual enthusiasm… eventually.