May 22, 2016

Catching up: Onigiri, Wagamama High Spec

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A couple of 3-minute shows have been running for a while, so let's see what they've been up to.

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May 16, 2016

Bakuon! -- ep 7

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It's time for the school festival, and all the clubs are supposed to put on events. The Bike club decides to put on a race and somehow Hijiri ends up in charge of it, and she's got big plans and strange ideas. (Ep 6 was the setup for this race but I didn't write about it last week. Sorry!)

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Her plan is to turn the school itself into a track, around which they will run 10 laps. The stairs will have boards on them to make them smooth.

(By the way, word-of-god is that "Raimu" is really named Lime, and I'm going to call her that from now on. Her name, "Lime", shows up in writing in this episode.)

In order to get the other students interested enough to watch the race, they get permission to run a book and then they go around the school trying to get people to wager on the race. First visit is Rin's class, and she challenges a classmate to name the four domestic Japanese motorcycle makers. "Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and... um... Ah! Mr. Harley David-san." (That's right, of course. Nailed it in one!)

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So it's time for the race. Hane has modified her bike by adding mirrors, signal lights, and extra mufflers. (Actually, Lime did it for Hane at the end of ep 6.) Onsa is riding a special two-stroke bike her father used to ride. Rin is on her Katana but she's added a couple of mods.

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And Lime is riding a Kawasaki scooter as a handicap, provided by Onsa's father.

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Hijiri is announcing the race, in a rather... interesting... costume standing on a rather... unusual... motorcycle.

And they're off! And Lime flips her scooter immediately and seems to be out of the race. The other three start off pretty slowly, being cautious and getting used to the track. But competitive spirit will out and they go faster and faster each trying to get into the lead. By the final lap it's pretty impressive and they're starting to take chances.

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Coming into the final lap Hane is way behind and instead of going down the ramp slowly, she takes a jump. Her bike seems to have wings. She lands perfectly and catches up. Meanwhile, Lime finally recovered and got back into the race, making back up the couple of laps she lost. Heading for the finish line, all four bikes are very close. Then Lime's engine explodes (for reasons too complicated to explain) and she tumbles through the sky. The other three make it a photo finish.

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While the photo is being evaluated, the audience begins to express its opinions. To each other. Violently.

So who won? That would be telling... All I can say is that it wasn't Harley David-san.

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May 14, 2016

High School Girls to the Rescue!

As we all know, high school girls can defeat any enemy that doesn't have tentacles. But against kaiju they need a bit of help.

Ragnastrike Angels! Earth is invaded from space and nothing seems able to defeat the giant aliens, known as Fiarem. So as an emergency measure a group of high school girls are recruited as a special defense force. When given technomagic treatment they become 38 meters tall and can fight the Fiarem on even terms.

Well, except...

This is a series of 30-second ads running in weekly sequence which are pimping a computer game that runs on PC, iOS, and Android. And we just reached episode 7, and...

**EPISODE 1**

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Earth is being invaded, and our main character Ayano watches a bombardment.

**EPISODE 2**

There's an attack on our city! Send out Ayano!

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The problem is that Ayano is sacked out under a kotatsu.

**EPISODE 3**

So they send another one of the girls to wake her up.

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She tries a tickling attack, but it backfires and she ends up asleep, too. (I wonder if there's a problem with carbon monoxide?)

Skipping ahead, the team tsundere gets them both up and back to base. And now it's time to become giants!

**EPISODE 4**

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The trapdoor she's standing on opens and she falls into a technomagical pool.

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And gets hit with a technomagical beam, and gets big.

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**EPISODE 5**

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Three girls are going on this mission, but first they have to dress.

**EPISODE 6**

Into combat! (About damned time, too.)

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And there's the enemy!

Combat? You were expecting to see combat? Actually, there's about three seconds of combat but it's too motion-blurred to see anything.

**EPISODE 7**

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The team tsundere chews out the girls who went on the mission because they ran away. And then we learn, it couldn't be helped because in order to use their special powers (!),

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And there you have it. You, (yes, YOU!) are needed to save the Earth from the invading space aliens. You have to romance all these gorgeous girls and make them love you, and then they can win their battles! But if you don't, the aliens will win and the human race will be exterminated! Are you ready for this challenge? The human race needs you!

Well, there have been stupider concepts for games. At least it ain't Ikki Tousen...

UPDATE: Here's a youtube that does show some of the combat from the game. It also shows the powerup which is referred to in that last picture above.

And as shouldn't be a surprise, the tsundere is the only one of the girls who is flat-chested.

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May 09, 2016

Today's search term

Just got a hit from "ask.com" looking for:

most affectionate anime girls

Well, there's always Kaede from Shuffle...

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Bakuon and K-On

Pete doesn't like Bakuon; he thinks it's a ripoff of K-On. Of course, there's nothing new under the sun and in a field of entertainment as long and rich as anime it's nearly impossible to come up with something really new that isn't reminiscent of something else that came before. (It does happen, of course, but shows like Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei are really rare and even a show like Puella Magi Madoka Magica is arguably at least somewhat derivative.)

So in this case the claim is that Bakuon is K-on with motorcycles instead of electric guitars. Could be. I can't say. I tried watching K-on and couldn't make it through the first episode because all the characters were too stupid to tolerate. Pete refers to this as "retard moe" and from his point of view Bakuon is even worse.

Somehow it doesn't feel that way to me. The characters don't feel retarded to me; they feel young and inexperienced. And that's not the same thing.

Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is for life.

The girls in Bakuon come across to me as ignorant and immature, for the most part. And in any case I can forgive some of that kind of thing in a show which is deliberate farce like Bakuon. (And not K-on, which was supposed to be somewhat serious.)

Hijiri (the rich girl) really does seem to be an idiot. I'll give Pete that one. But I don't think Hane is an idiot; she's just accepting, non-judgemental. She goes with the flow. She's unfailingly nice and that kind of character is unusual in anime. There's a reason she was the one who had an encounter with Kami-sama; Onsa and Rin passed him right by without looking back.

Rin isn't a "dumb blonde" character, despite being the best purveyor of fan service. Her thing as a character is about punctured pretensions. She's built up her self-identity about riding a Suzuki Katana, but it turns out her particular bike came from Onsa's store, so it isn't what she thought it was. And Rin has a Suzuki logo burn mark on her butt, left over from an accident when she was younger. (The explanation for it is contrived, but you can get away with that kind of contrivance in a farce.)

I am really enjoying Bakuon, which is surprising me immensely. When I first read the description in the previews I was sure it was going to be horrible, but I find it to be witty and clever -- and a lot more ecchi than I expected. Pete watched 4 episodes and has decided to bag it. It's a pity; he missed the "motorcycle cleaning" fan service scene at the end of episode 5 (time 19:07).

Ep 6 should be out today but isn't yet as I write this at 5 AM and it begins a new plot arc. I'm not sure it will maintain the series the way it has been, but I have my hopes. If it continues to follow the manga, then we won't be getting any more massive fan service scenes for a long time. We're back to motorcycle-service instead.

UPDATE: I downloaded all of the manga volumes untranslated, just to get some idea of what's coming. This series is fantasy, not too surprisingly, but I mean in the classic sense.

Kami-sama shows up again. A biker shows up wearing a helmet decorated like a skull; he might be Death. Rin gets visited by a talking cat and ends up doing cosplay (?) as a magical girl. That one goes on for several chapters, with Onsa, Rin, and Raimu being opponents and Hane showing up with her own cute talking animal sidekick, in the shape of a rabbit.

There's a new member of the club named Chisame and she has an episode with adult men that all look like puppets. And I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Raimu is a kami.

They visit an onsen in chapter 36 and they do (fully clothed) sumo in chapter 42. Another onsen in chapter 50. At the rate they're burning through chapters (3-4 per anime episode) we might reach chapter 36 before it's all over.

And there are a lot of people running around who wear helmets and never take them off. Raimu isn't the only one.

Rin's 3 numbers are B91/W56/H81 (36/22/32).
Hijiri: B81/W61/H86 (32/24/34).
Chisame: B75/W60/H80 (30/24/32).
Hane: B82/W58/H87 (32/23/34).
Onsa: B76/W55/H83 (30/22/33).

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May 04, 2016

HaiFuri -- ep 4

I stopped watching this after the second episode and I'm not even downloading it any more. But Random Curiousity is following it, and they have a writeup for ep 4.

And apparently we have an explanation for why everyone has gone nuts: mutant mind-control hamsters. The reason it hasn't affected Harekaze is because it's got a cat on board.

Which means this series is now officially Idiotic.

(Oh, and I finally figured out that haifuri is short for high school fleet.)

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May 02, 2016

Bakuon!! -- ep 5

Last episode was an onsen, and even so I think this episode was even more ecchi. And Hane wins the episode. Prepare yourself!

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But first a bit of trivia. A couple of days ago I noticed that Rin's seiyuu also did the voice of Lelei in GATE. She sure is versatile; they're nothing at all alike! (Besides which, it gives me an excuse for putting Rin at the top of this post.)

(UPDATE: Apologies. I flipped the image so it would fit better in the site format. That's why the Suzuki logo is backward.)

Morning in Hokkaido. It's summer so sunrise must be about 5 AM. Hane is up for it and makes herself a cup of coffee, into which she puts four cubes of sugar. Blech. (I drink my coffee black.)

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And they spend a night at a cheap inn, and have... problems... with one of their teachers who happens to be there, too. I'm not going to say any more about it except to say that laws got broken.

So they finally reach the dock and take the ferry home. So now it's time to clean their bikes!

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And everything else is below the fold because a lot of it is pretty seriously NSFW.

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April 25, 2016

Bakuon!! ep 4 -- Fan service!

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Of course, I think it's a foregone conclusion that every episode of this series is going to have a healthy dose of fan service, but this particular episode probably takes that to an extreme. (It turns out this is the only mainstream manga done by the mangaka. Everything else was R-18 at least. So it's not too surprising that the girls look really good, especially Rin.)

A school vacation is coming up, and our girls decide they want to take a road trip. Destination turns out to be Hokkaido, because Rin went there with her father when she was little. The story started sweetly, as if a treasured memory, but it ended up really badly. So regardless, they're going to do it.

But nothing is easy when it comes to this group, and they end up late for the ferry and miss it. Raimu gets on; Hijiri and her butler try but fail and drown the latest Ducati, and order a replacement to be delivered by helicopter. The other three decide to ride to Aomori, 700 km away, to catch a different ferry. And on the way, Onsa and Rin end up racing and leave Hane behind. So the group is now scattered all over the country side.

Lots of spoilers below the fold, OK? Also NSFW.

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April 22, 2016

To Love-ru Darkness

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It just didn't feel right to not try to harvest To Love-ru Darkness so I took a swing at it, and I got hooked on the story. So I downloaded the second cour of it (it was a split-cour series) and watched that last night and this morning.

Overall it wasn't anything like as fruitful to plunder. I got 51 candidates from both cours. But I had been watching it with the sound turned off, and I finally got curious and started listening to it. And got a huge surprise: I recognized a lot of the voices.

In particular, Nana has the same voice as Saten in Railgun. It was a perfect casting choice IMHO, and in fact this series has a really top-drawer cast overall. I wish they had cast a man to do the voice of Rito, though.

Darkness is a lot different than To Love-ru and Motto To Love-ru. Those two shows are simple comedy. There really isn't any significant plot line. (TLR did have a climax at the end when Lala's father showed up. MTLR didn't even bother with that.)

The format was that each episode was divided into thirds, with each third telling a funny story that didn't affect the situation, even if it seemed to. There were some changes to the continuity, like introducing characters, but for instance one third-of-an-ep of MTLR ended with most of the girls in the high school turned to little kids. The next third picked right up with everyone back to normal.

Darkness is entirely different. Each episode tells a complete story. A lot of them contributed to a long term story line. Maybe about half of them were serious overall. And continuity was maintained scrupulously.

And it reminded me a bit of Divergence Eve. It was loaded with gratuitous fan service which detracted from the story telling and characterization. It was in there because it was pandering to the existing fan base of the series, because TLR and MTLR had lots of fan service. It's really a shame; I spent a lot of time skipping through Darkness.

The main character of Darkness is Yami aka Golden Darkness, and the way that ended up developing and how it was resolved were disappointing. I'm sorry; it wasn't what I wanted. It was just too stupid. It should have been Mikan who saved Yami, not Rito. Having Ushizu save Mea was pretty cool, but it should have been Momo.

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Regardless, Momo and Nana were awesome, so that part wasn't disappointing. I can't see myself ever watching any of this again, but it wasn't torture to watch it once.

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April 19, 2016

Bakuon -- incoming fan service!

Chapter 9 of the manga tells Raimu's story, which was the last part of ep 3. Chapter 12 of the manga is titled "Onsen!" and...

That was inevitable. I wonder if we'll get a school festival episode?

Also, it seems like Hijiri is buying her Ducatis a dozen at a time. By chapter 12 she's already ruined four of them, if I'm counting correctly.

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