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Archive for the ‘Summer 2012 Anime Season’ Category

I remember how I was back in July, my rosy-cheeked, shiny-eyed self untainted by the overwhelming sludge of mediocrity that was the summer season. It was a time when Hyouka was more contemptible and exploitative than Violence Jack, and Jinrui was sitting high on the pantheon of greatest things in all history ever; admittedly, beginning the season in a drunken haze probably didn’t help to ease this strange disconnect.

But then Yuru Yuri Two Eighth-Notes and Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse aired, and I gained some perspective on things. No longer was I a rosy-eyed, shiny-cheeked youth, but a grizzled blogger who had seen it all, man. It was at that point when all hope seemed lost that something weird happened: Hyouka somehow got better, and Jinrui slowly descended in quality from godlike to merely pretty good. What made this strange is these two results were caused by the same change in focus: from plot to character development. (more…)

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I don’t know what’s been up with these last few episodes of Uta Koi. Maybe something’s circulating in the water that makes writing good mid-Heian period pieces a 100% certainty, but hot damn has it picked up in quality since the Sei Shonagon arc ended. It’s not that Sei Shonagon was a bad character by herself, it’s that her and everyone in the emperor’s court romances like they’ve been huffing paint for the better part of their tenure, making their endeavors more exercises in patience than heartbreaking tragedy. It’s been such a highpoint in my anime viewing these past few weeks that they make almost everything preceding it (relatively) look like total crap.

Episode 11 was so damn good that I don’t feel it’s ever too late to cover  it in addition to Episode 12, something that I’ll hopefully get to by the end of the weekend. So enjoy some more late gushing about how wonderful this was. (more…)

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In past posts on Jinrui, I’ve flirted with the fact that the show’s strengths lie in its ability to create stunning, bizarre set pieces to revolve each episode around. Aside from Watashi, who’s apparently witness to nearly every strange happening in the post-civilization world, none of the characters are all that distinctive by themselves. Hell, even she doesn’t stand out much, despite her often taking an active role in the events of each episode. She’s a reactionary element, the audience surrogate and pink-haired, snarky life preserver to cling to as the events of each episode increasingly lose connection with reality, and she doesn’t fare well when out of her element. (more…)

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There’s both a good and a bad side to being so sleep deprived that I actually fell asleep three times while writing this sentence. Counting all the positives, we have boundless creativity and a drive to write as many posts as physically possible before the end of the week. Keeping the much vaster swath of negatives in mind though, it doesn’t mean much that I have ideas when I can barely express them coherently. And that, children, is my excuse for getting this post up nearly five days after watching the episode. So yeah, sorry about that. (more…)

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There’s a question that kept popping in my mind while I was watching this episode, regardless of how many times I attempted beat it down: Is a nondescript, demure personality completely devoid of recognizable traits something that’s in itself distinct? If you have ten people in a room, nine with vibrant personalities and one without, does the one stand out more than the nine for being the exception to the norm? Or do they fade into the scenery so much that recalling any detail regarding appearance or demeanor becomes a Herculean task?

When I kept asking myself this in lieu of paying close attention to the episode, I realized that it wasn’t a vain search for a way to describe the Assistant; I was trying to pin down my own tenuous thoughts on Watashi. I mean yes, the Assistant isn’t exactly brimming with what would ordinarily be described as distinctive charm, but his repertoire of Hawaiian shirts more than makes up for it. (more…)

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Stop smiling, you little fuckers

I didn’t think that Jinrui could shock me with any antagonist that it could conjure up at this point. We’ve had headless chickens, corrupt corporate pawns that care for little more than climbing the corporate ladder, and anthropomorphized space probes, so the level of quirkiness would have to be off the charts to even register with me at this point. That’s why, even considering the simple yet effective fever dream-like quality of the plot and the way that it hinted at their involvement along the way, I didn’t expect that the fairies would finally take an active role as antagonists.

Of all the zany shenanigans that comprise most of Jinrui, very few have been a direct, conscious result of the fairies. In spite of the pivotal role that they play, they’ve been portrayed more as brilliant, if careless creatures rather than manipulative or self-serving; most of their goods are made to help a far-gone, dependent human society on its last gasp, rather than directly suit their own needs. This is the first episode that’s established the mischievous nature hiding behind their perpetual faces of surprised joy, and the effect is only eerier when examined with more scrutiny. (more…)

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From what I’ve seen of Uta Koi so far, I want to dislike it. I want to watch an episode, feel a familiar pit of vitriolic loathing swell in my stomach, and vomit it through my fingers onto the keyboard to truly express in written form why it’s the scum of the earth, and tangentially bring up why ARIA is the best thing ever. But unfortunately I can’t do that for everything in life, even when talking about anime that examines possible catalysts behind the famous One-Hundred Poets’ writings. There’s something about Uta Koi that’s so pure, so wonderful, that it shines through the many faults and manages to give me something to love about each episode. (more…)

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