Reeling in the Feels

After the rain?

Shirobako got my tongue pretty well. Episode 23 was another outpouring moment in a lot of ways, and I’m not really done processing it. Too busy grinding Ace Combat for gold boxes and it refuses to give any. Hopefully both of these statuses will change for the better soon.

I have about a month’s backlog in terms of sites to read and shows to watch. Of them, I was able to keep on top of my favorites of the moment: Shirobako, Saekano and Log Horizon. It doesn’t mean anything about quality or some such as I previously thought, but it hopefully endorses them beyond a certain duty I felt as someone who still habitually watch 10+ shows a season and the need to “review crap.” FWIW, I just got done with KimiUso, probably more because there are advantages to shows that end a week early, so all these animubroggers have “wrapped it up” in such a way that compelled finishing it first, if just to avoid spoilers.

I also realized today I had a chance to visit the Shirobako collab at Musashino’s shopping street outside its JR stop on the Chuo while I was in Japan. I had a half-free day that I spent walking aimlessly looking for amps. Sigh. So to feel better about myself I end up working on the camote backlog, and run up against this entry. The name is not only familiar because of the seiyuu connection (as someone who visited ANN’s encyclopedia you wonder if people credit things correctly every now and then) but because of aforementioned ANN connection, sometimes I wondered what did the animator Tanaka do, and if it is noteworthy. Looks like she’s one of the core Ghibli types since the early Telecom days, so, yes.

[Wait they still have her credited in Pitaten storyboards lolol.]

No, reading camote brings more dread than joy, partly because it’s so dry and a lot of it is not too relevant to my interests. The relatively business-like imprints and being solid info makes them a good read to reel back the feels, as they say. It’s like when people complain about seasonal anime goodness, I’m like, what are they smoking? Shirobako has ran for 2 cours (almost), so it has been two really good seasons of anime. This is AOTY 2014 and it probably will be AOTY 2015 unless something else jumps out at me.

The reactionary response also prompts me one other thought: after episode 12, I was like, this anime is basically already really damn good, it can only screw up from this point on. And so far all it did was to repeat itself, which is more than what I can ask for. At the same time, seeing episode 23 play out makes a good wrap-up point that the first cour didn’t quite have. So are we all done here? I was done since last Christmas, so all of this is gravy really.

The word is that there is enough material planned for 2 more cour, where Aoi takes on the role of line producer, and then main producer. I guess those are stretch goals for those delicious blu-ray sales.


Bucket List Lives, 2015

I always wanted to go to some bucket list lives, so I did.

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Sendai Pilgrimage 2015 Part A

Just going to memo down the key things. Hope you might find it useful. [Go to the bottom for a list.]

Grey skies

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2015 Split Double Header, Game 2: Day 1-3

As some of you might know I’m currently in Japan as of this writing. The funny blog post title is more a clue for you to figure out what the hell do I mean by it, and for me to distinguish this series of travelogues from the other ones I will write, which hopefully will be for IM@S 10th.

The trip for this “game” includes, hopefully, a NPB exhibition game too, so pardon the baseball motif. Their proper season doesn’t begin until in 2 weeks I think, but the various teams are already doing their spring training games and what not. The one I am planning to go to is the Samurai versus Euro game. Snooze, right?

Also, I want to write a few notes about the lives I attended.

This might get kind of long.

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Maria the Virgin Witch

I finally was able to catch up big time on this little series. Maybe it’s better to explain why I had to do that. (At least, aside from being on Funimation.)

The issue is pretty much summed up, albeit regarding a different facet, as to why anyone who is familiar with modern late-night anime might find concerning. I quote:

I hope it also doesn’t suddenly turn into a morality play about the Otaku Virtues.

witch activity

What first drew me to the series was actually the exact opposite: more toilet jokes are okay. The whole Shakespearean feel to the story was refreshing, and also appropriately gutter-level fanservice trash. It turned out to be different, which I was okay with given that the focus was on a lot of plot-related stuff, building character motivations, what have you.

The one thing that I cannot stand in this context is obvious moral soapboxing that is actually the point of the story, and unfortunately Maria is chock full of it. It really comes down to the main character, being who she is, had to say the things she say and do the things she does, because otherwise she lives in a caricature world of moral ambiguity and corruption. I get all this regarding the heretic and the traditionally democratically-ordained religious norms she had to deal with. Unfortunately that just makes it worse. In fact the more they try to do the “oh some people are good/bad” the more I retch, not because of the veracity of its value judgment but rather it’s all too eager to make them for you. Maybe if there is a better way to pass the pill, so to speak. The famed English playwright was a master of this.

Maybe the problem really was that Maria was French?

Actually, the problem is more like the French has no sense of humor. The most powerful tool in this story is criminally underplayed in Maria: stuff needs to make people laugh. It goes back to kind of why fanservice heavy shows are often comedic, because it helps to make viewing it tolerable. Same here, except it’s not for fanservice’s sake. We have the owls having a jolly o’ time but they are even rarely funny. It’s like most of the laughs comes from either bullying Hanazawa’s owl or some big-breasted voice joke from Pikasha. Maria has got to do better on that front: both the show and the character.

Otherwise, though, Maria the Virgin Witch is pretty solid so far, and refreshingly different. It is just sad that these important, but unfortunate issues will hold it back from being actually good.