Recently I’ve gone through a very busy spell which involved a less than ideal work schedule that persists to this month. I’ve also played host to an otaku exchange student 21stcenturydigitalboy who stayed at my house for a month here in Manila and mostly spent his money buying rare anime-related merchandise. As a result I felt I’ve been rather behind in my anime hobby even though it may not seem like it.
After working all through the weekend I get this weird day off on a Tuesday and unsurprisingly (given everyone else is busy) I woke up at 4am and have been watching (and commenting on) anime ever since. Here’s my account. It’s not going to be chronologically consistent as I’ve made a narrative out of it. Suffice to say that it’s comprehensive (for better or worse). I’ve caught up with shows I’ve been following from Spring and the new shows I’ve started. Here we go!
The Borrower Arrietty
The latest offering from Studio Ghibli has Miyazaki Hayao adapting the script from Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. This is Yonebayashi Hiromara’s directorial debut, the youngest guy to direct a film from the acclaimed studio. The Borrowers are a race(?) of tiny humanoids who “borrow” from humans superfluous raw and used materials for subsistence. The primary charm (and since this is a Ghibli film, its capital is charm) is the exploration of the countryside house reminiscent of the mouse’s eye view as can be found in Disney’s Cinderella.
The house and garden is exquisitely detailed and vibrant with excellent use of light, shadow, and the clever placement of fixtures, tools, and inanimate objects. If there was one thing that I’m ambivalent about, it’s what seems to be a forced evocation of the Ghibli ecological manifesto during a key dialogue point between the lead characters.
It’s not that big a deal, but I can understand if other viewers will find it off-putting. The heartwarming, yet somewhat darkly ambiguous ending is a treat. Do I find it more charming than Ponyo? Probably not, but I think I like it more.
Tiger & Bunny Episode 15
[Spoilers] Sky High falls in love with an android that he destroys and he never knew it. Delivered in Tiger & Bunny’s seemingly simplistic and light-hearted way, I got a treat of a kind of tragic story that I only saw in the likes of the 80s Astroboy (where Astroboy falls in love with a little robot girl on this island and the girl ends up being a ticking bomb that blows up), and Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. Given the show’s treatment, one isn’t easily moved to tears by this melodrama, but I say it’s a good treatment anyway, which allowed the romantic sub-plot from the previous episode to progress without dominating the show.
I had thought Kotetsu’s power surge from the previous episode is some kind of zany result from being an object of love. Rather, it’s the onset of superpower decay, besetting the one person who being a hero means the most. This is a humorous show, but this lighthearted take on things sure allows it to attack the characters with so much pathos. Good stuff.
Hanasaku Iroha Episode 15
Like K-On!!’s Hirasawa Yui, and Aria’s Mizunashi Akari, Matsumae Ohana is this disruptive force of character that provokes everyone around her to confront something about themselves that leads to epiphanies big and small. She does not do this consciously or purposely. She put it so perfectly on her own terms, “like a dog…” it’s like a conditioned reflex… “she just finds herself drooling…” Amazing stuff.
While Akari is more determined to succeed Alicia as the prima of Aria Company, and Yui is just a moeblob, Ohana achieves the same effects as the other two by being a ball of frantic energy.
In this regard she’s more like Manami from Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight only that she isn’t limited to only energy and enthusiasm (not that these are the only things that define Manami as a character of fiction). Ohana is good at waitressing the way Akari is good at rowing a boat and Yui is at guitar, skills achieved with hard work and guts. This episode is the culmination of a Yuina arc, but Ohana drove the story no doubt about it. I’ve watched this episode three times now since last night. This is the result.
Beelzebub Episode 25
Don’t look at me like that. I am aware that I am very much capable of liking a bad show without relying on irony. It’s still bad, but my wife really likes it so we watch it together. It has grown on me primarily due to one reason: Kunieda. I enjoy watching her suffer with her tsun-cum-dere embarrassment over her attraction to Oga. This was enough. I survived up to this point on this alone. Then the show changed its ED:
Sacred SeveN Episode 02
The story feels flimsy, but I don’t watch this show for the story. I watch this for the inspired animation during action sequences – and this time it’s not only about the fighting. The mid-air catch between Arma and Ruri remembers so much love for Eureka SeveN that I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. Mid-air catch: check, Itano Circus: check. Sure is Eureka SeveN in here. The circus in this case involved Alma on his sky surfboard evading streams of fire shot at him by the Darkstone Beast of the Week (DSBotW).
Also, Nakajima Megumi’s performance as Ruri… if she sounded very different from how I know her in the pilot episode, she definitely sounds more like Ranka in this one. I for one cannot complain. As I’ve said in my post on the pilot episode of Sacred 7, this show is the more straightforward hero show by Sunrise that compliments its other hero show Tiger & Bunny which is more meta, layered, and subversive.
Unlike a bunch of people I know, I’m not a connoisseur of horrible anime. I get how some shows can get so bad, it leaves one in awe and amazement that one starts truly enjoying oneself. But I don’t go out of my way to watch these shows. So why now Garzey’s Wing? A notoriously awful show that during anime legend Tomino Yoshiyuki’s career highlight reel in the 2009 New York Anime Festival, it was the only show not mentioned in any way. And let me tell you, Tomino Yoshiyuki made some very very, bad shows.
This makes him, and consequently the show, very interesting. To me he is probably by far the most interesting person in anime ever (certainly far more interesting than Miyazaki Hayao). The influence of his work is staggering. My esteem for some of his works are incredible. But oh my god when he sucks, OH GOD does he suck. So, his suckiest work holds a lot of intrigue for me, and indeed I watched all of it on youtube.
Was it terrible? It will not disappoint. The first five minutes of this show will stay with me for a long time. What prevented the show from becoming unbelievably dull is the hilarity provided by a truly inspired English dub. Listen, and listen well. This is a cultural relic right here. And while this manufactured significance may buoy my spirits for a time… I really made this blog post to do something productive out of the 90 or so minutes I spent watching Garzey’s Wing that I will never ever get back again.