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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Get ready for something. Sans Pictures.

I am about to drop a fucking bomb on this blog. It’s something that I’ve resented the idea for nigh on a decade, but I can do so no longer. Sure, that’s a lot longer than I’ve had a blog, but my point is thus.

I am not living in Nova Scotia. Surely to say this makes me sound like a goddamn lunatic. “Of course you’re living in Nova Scotia, Victor. You’ve said so… You’ve pointed it out on that endearing map with the implication of ponies.”

No, I may be residing in Nova Scotia, and indeed a rural shithole therein, but I sure as shit am not alive right now. If we are only the area around us, if we are a fraction of the happenstance location where our parents fucked and then sat down, then I might as well kill myself right now. If the random fucking chance of my being born in a shithole town and then my being bounced back and forth from shithole to alternate shithole is the be all to end all of my living… I should fellate a sidearm today.

Coincidentally, were I to make the foolish choice of death now, word would not spread for fucking weeks. Due to the fact that my father is the only other person here, and he is of the enlightened opinion that cell phones are useless. I don’t have the energy to make shit up anymore.

But I contend, at 7:30 in the goddamn morning, after not sleeping all night, and not doing so outside of subsisting on daytime naps for the last week… That I am where my mind is. That’s it. That’s the grandiose load that I’m here to drop. I am in addition to my blood and bone self an entity that ponders things, and sometimes shares them.

And that is the reason that I stick around. So that I may continue to reason and enjoy my thinking. That I can consider things, any sort of things. To imagine them as a picture in my mind, to pull apart bits of this picture, rotate it, or set it on fire, or something… and to see how it affects the bigger picture. Never to stop. Because if I did, I’d be no better off than the people who have put themselves in an early grave. Or fucking follow Jersey Shore.

But here’s the shitkicker out of all this. As a human, despite all psychological and legal evidence to the contrary, I need to be around people. I don’t have to like them. I don’t have to get along with them. I don’t have to agree with them. Hell, my brain doesn’t even have to approve of them.  Sure as shit the lion doesn’t have to agree with the zebras.

But, he does have to consider them.

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As with any review, open spoilers follow… Sorta.

I do all of my best work at 6am. This has nothing to do with my getting up early. In fact, there’s nary a time when I punch out a piece of writing when my brain isn’t half-way to assville due to sleep deprivation. I’m okay with that, in fact I prefer it. What I don’t prefer is getting immersed in a show’s plot trajectory only to have the ending ignore all sense of momentum. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

You knew there was going to be a visual pun here. Don't lie to yourself.

The second anime that I’ve seen recently (well recently at the time of the initial writing) is one by the name of Maria†Holic. Not going to lie, I had to google for that cross… Maria†Holic, if you are unfamiliar, was produced by the studio SHAFT.  I feel the need to mention that it retains this information whether you knew that or not. Of course, since it’s SHAFT, I’m not yet ready to discount the possibility of some sort of bizarre Schrödingerian state that changes the goddamn anime based on anyone looking at it. That’s the sort of shit that SHAFT gets off on.

Anywho, the 12 episode anime first came to my attention on a wiki-walk that must have started with lesbians. As all great things must. For characters, we’ve got an extremely poorly-disguised self-described-pervert for a main character. At about 5’9″, Kanako Miyamae is head and shoulders above most of the other high school girls. And it’s an appropriate place for her head, because anyone with a passing grade in biology can tell you that altitude can play havoc with one’s capillaries. Making the bold move of having a lesbian main character is somewhat dulled by having her comically smitten by damn near everything that draws breath in the (naturally) all-girl school. Also, she bleeds from the nose a sufficient volume each day that she spends half her waking life in the campus hospital wing.

Our heroine on one of her lighter flow days. Yeah, I went there.

But as we all know, every character needs a foil if they’re in the lead spot. And Kanako gets one in spades, and clubs, as it were. The painfully beautifully Mariya Shindou, whom Kanako is enamoured with right away. The only thing is, it’s a trap. Mariya is a dude that’s taken on a challenge set forth by his grandmother to test his feminine side before he’s allowed to govern the school. Or something.

And that’s fine, I’ve watched weirder characters. Really, I’m sure I have. Yet, what bothers me is that Mariya Shidou is a grade A bitch from the first episode and never passes an opportunity to deride Kanako’s “perversion”. And a bitch in sheep’s clothing, too. Mariya is unceasingly pleasant and bubbly in talking to anyone but our MC, so much to the point of nausea. This is balanced by his threatening rape against Kanako should she ever reveal the true nature of his… totally being a dude, because that forfeits the contest immediately. Or something.

I feel I need to reiterate. It’s a really good character, and I can say that because I hate this guy.  I hate this guy so much that it gave me energy. I hate this guy so much, that I got up early one morning just so I could spend more time HATING HIM. Sure it may be amusing to see Kanako squirm for a little while, but this man is a straight up sociopath.

He's a bad mother... SHUT YO MOUTH.

See, because it’s studio SHAFT. Sigh, nevermind. Also worth mentioning is that I didn’t edit that photo. He’s really missing a nose in like fucking 95% of his shots.

There’s the typical cast of shaftian side-characters that are built only to tell the same joke again and again, or to play off of the main character’s mental deficiencies, but you won’t care about then any more than I did. They’re generically pretty people… that all sort of inure an anime watcher after a while, and like what DEEN did with Seizon, the staff tried squeezing way way waaaay to many lines of dialogue out of the same quirks each time.

...and I mean milking it until it hurts.

The shit-kicker is that after 11 episodes of what we think is building up to the end of the school year plot, or some sort of unraveling of either major character’s secret… We get a gag a minute series of shorts for the 12th episode. And that’s it. Kanako doesn’t find a woman capable of loving her back. Mariya doesn’t get his comeuppance for being a manipulative jackass. And SHAFT doesn’t get as enthusiastic  a review out of me that they could’ve had.

I know that my word doesn’t hold up against the success of the series, since they’ve put out 6 bound volumes of Maria†Holic, and so who am I to judge it? It’s not supposed to be serious. It’s just another show that’s meant to be colourful, and endearing, and fast-talking… and not to be taken as anything but. And while I have to admit that it’s humour dragged a little on me, it was still a fun watch. And the musical score is delightfully upbeat and quirky.

So, at the end of the day, will you learn anything from it? No. Hell no. Is it a good anime for unwinding on the weekends? I’m going to say yes. At least, until I get my Season 4 of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei!

Enjoy being trapped in Tv Tropes for checking the hovertext. Mwuahahahaha.

And remember, 4 is death.

Fuck yeah. I’m going to go ahead and count this update as on time, seeing as I’m two-and-a-half months faster than the last post. Excuses are not my strong suit, and I can’t be arsed to pad an introduction out tonight, so here’s a review of the two 12 ep. anime I took in from the cold. (In my last anime review, I had two seasons to work with, so it’s the same general length of video.) Both from 2009, because I’m just so frighteningly topical.

First up, Seitokai no Ichizon. Now, you may have gleamed from my last to posts that I like to consume media with cute girls and references. That’s not a total lie, however, I take issue with the characterization of the girls, and the verbal dexterity used to make the references. Seizon as it’s frequently abbreviated handled neither with anything resembling grace.

Strike from the record Witches

Not pictured, dignity or tact.

Seizon is a parody of the high school comedic/drama genre. Now as a guy that knows admittedly little about language puns and Japanese pop culture, many of the jokes either left me groaning or wondering if I missed the punchline. The times when they don’t rip a character/series off completely, which does come up frequently, I was left scratching my head and wishing for a wiki for the throwaway lines. I stopped myself, thank fuck. Because at the point where a comedy makes me check with the liner notes is the day I swallow my own tongue.

Setting the unabashed meta-tropes and 4th wall hammering aside, the characters were amusing for approximately 1/2 the time they were on screen. That’s being charitable, because anyone who had finished the series and wanted more seriously needed their head examined. Or maybe they were masochistic; I don’t know.  Outside of the leading (read: only) male, Sugisaki Ken, the cast is less that dynamic. And I’m talking less about their passionate enthusiasm than their dependence on  one or two jokes that get more runs though the ringer than a baseball team made completely out of ME.

Please, do not TOUCH the merchandise.

Worst meta joke... ever.

Here’s all that you need to know about the cast. Ken is a pervert that wants the rest of the student council as his harem, and so in good ol’ fashioned Freudian theory, every action he takes, and everything he works towards is to get his jollies with the four girls that round out the council. The President is a tiny, cute girl that’s tiny and cute, and more than a wee bit obnoxious.  There’s a tall curvy girl, that’s tall and curvy and that wants the tiny cute girl all to herself. She’s also a hypnotist, stock consultant and allegedly a dominatrix. The other two are sisters, because there are always sisters in a four girl group. One is athletic yet “surprisingly” good at math, setting aside how much implying is done here, it ceases being a surprise a lot sooner than the script would have you believe. Her little sis is a fragile game addict with a penchant for yaoi.

From left to right: Otaku, Tomboy, Oxygen-waster, and Sociopath.

I didn’t include names because that’s literally all you need to know about them. And don’t worry if you miss it, because they will return to those lines again and AGAIN.

Perhaps what I found more disheartening than the repetition of the lines, is the sheer volume of talking that they added to under 6 hours of video. The only reasonable comparison I can draw to this is the throwaway conversations of Seinfeld (as tired as that reference is) if it were as frenetic as Jeopardy and then re-cut the footage to repeat itself every 17 minutes or so. Also, it shoehorns an ending in like Cinderella turning out to be an ungulate. Enjoy that mental image fuckers.

If you want a number score out of ten, I can give it a 5.5, the lowest passing grade I’ll give. It’s about as much of the rehashing as I could stand without dropping the series. It’s amusing for a while, and mercifully short, if not particularly memorable.

Sugisaki Ken. Evidently not familiar with School Days.

I’ll be back in a little while to bash another series’ faults and spit shine the good bits. But right now, I would need a ladder and pulley system to raise an eyebrow.