April 18, 2016
This is turning out to be a lot of fun, and ep 3 has several laugh-out-loud moments. (At least I laughed. There are few things as subjective as humor.)
The show is slowly rolling out character backgrounds, and ep 2 gave us Rin's and explained why she's so hooked on Suzuki. Ep 3 gives us a load of background on Onsa. Neither of them are really monstrously tragic or anything like that, but they both explain the characters a lot.
When Rin was little, her father was in love with the Suzuki Katana (full sized version) but had trouble getting his license because he didn't want to shell out for a school. He was out riding, with Rin on the back, and piled up the bike. She came out safely but he was badly injured and for a while I was afraid he had died, but he ended up OK. Anyway, that brings up to the present. He got his license and he has a full-size Katana. She wanted a Katana, too, and he got her a mini-version (400cc) which is what she rides.
In ep 3, Hane gets her license and so the girls are off to a used motorcycle shop so she can buy one. Hane rides with Raimu, holding onto Raimu's boobs as usual. And the one they end up in turns out to be Onsa's family business. And it is... seedy. Like almost illegal.
They sell their bikes for cheap because they're crap. They seem to have low mileage because Onsa (herself!) rewinds the odometers. Raimu seems to have an uncanny ability to diagnose a bike just by looking at it and she says one of the ones on the show floor has a dead cylinder, one has a crooked frame, and all of them have odometer resets.
Onsa's own bike was built out of parts from two identical scrapped bikes. And it keeps going on like that. Onsa doesn't want Hane to buy from them because... well, it's obvious. But before she gets to that point, Hane has found the Super Four of her dreams (it's pink). Raimu tells her it was painted, but Hane doesn't care.
They haven't revealed it yet but it's obvious that it's the bike she trained on, which talked to her. At the end of ep 2 the school got a new load of bikes in and got rid of the old ones, including the one Hane trained on. I haven't got the slightest doubt that the one she buys in this episode was that one. But we'll find out when her bike starts talking to her.
Rin is the source of a lot of the comedy in this series, not to mention being the main purveyor of fan service. Her schtick is "I wouldn't join even if you asked me." To which Onsa usually responds, "We didn't ask you."
When Hane has her bike, the next issue is the bike club itself. Seems there isn't really one. There was one 20 years ago, but after a tragic accident it was disbanded. So our girls apply to create a new one. To create a club you have to have four members, and Rin gets to play her "Well, I'll do you a favor" card, only to find that she isn't needed. They have four without her.
And then there's a big reveal about Raimu. It's a spoiler so I'm putting it below the fold.more...
This is getting stupider and stupider. The real problem with it is that it's completely contrived.
In ep 2 we learn that the ship they hit with the practice torpedo later sank. It was a warship, and even though the torpedo had no warhead, it holed the hull, and the ship must not have had water-tight doors below or they were open. The crew safely evacuated before the ship went down, and the teacher who started this all is conveniently unconscious and thus isn't available to explain why she opened fire first, or anything else.
We also learn that we took a real hit in that battle. A shell hit the rear deck and didn't do as much damage as I would expect.
Oh, and that practice torpedo was the only torp we're carrying. From now on if we fight we have to use gunnery.
In ep 2, we're attacked by a German cruiser Admiral Spee which is visiting the academy, or something. Its guns are larger and have longer range and starts firing when it's out of our range. So by clever maneuvering or something we get in range and then fire one round from one turret and hit the rear and cause it to lose power, like maybe one of the engine rooms was taken out, and the cruiser slows and we can outrun it.
But part way through that battle, a girl from the cruiser is on a motorboat and tries to move through the waters inbetween to reach us, and she takes a near miss from a round from the cruiser and her boat is destroyed. She doesn't get a scratch, of course. And she was far enough away from our destroyer so it looks like the cruiser was actively shooting at her. So our Captain takes her water-motorcycle out and rescues the girl in the middle of the battle, leaving "I'm so unlucky" in command and it's her that actually orders the battery to fire, though that was the captain's plan.
So the german girl is brought back on board but she's conveniently unconscious so we don't know what her story is.
And then at the end of the episode they receive an emergency call from Musashi, the battleship commanded by Captain's best friend, asking for help. No details, and it reeks of "trap" but that's next episode.
Lots of people have come to the same conclusion I have: this is a ripoff of Girls und Panzer. GuP was a fantasy but they never pretended otherwise, and they sold the fantasy very well. This series isn't even trying.
"We want a show about schoolgirls on a destroyer fighting other ships. But we don't want to do mechamusume because Kancolle already did that. So it's gotta be real schoolgirls. Now how can we get them into that situation? Hey, Satoshi, pull down that storage box full of deus ex machinas and let's see what's in it!"
One of the main reasons I hate mecha shows is that too many directors think that if they include a neat mecha they don't need to bother with things like story and logic and characterization.
And it seems like this show is the same thing. If we can get schoolgirls firing the main guns of a destroyer against an apparent enemy by the end of the first episode, the audience will cheer and swoon and won't care about how contrived the situation was that led to it.
April 16, 2016
I'm not watching this any more but I just noticed something from RandomC's writeup of ep 2.
I remember seeing a comment once (when I was a kid) to the effect that there was no longer any article of men's clothing that women could not also wear, because fashion. Well, this episode proves that wrong.
One of the girls, who was playing a male character in the game, decided to change her avatars to female without bothering to change the character's clothing. This is what she looks like IRL:
And this is what her character looked like, as a guy:
A bit odd, but not really scandalous... for a guy. But...
If she went out in public like this, she's be arrested.
UPDATE: It reminds me of this, from Seikoku no Dragonar:
She goes out in public like that, so maybe I'm wrong.
April 15, 2016
Dragon Ball Super has been pretty silly, not really living up to DBZ in most regards. It's a sequel, picking up shortly after the Majin Buu arc, so Trunks and Goten are still little kids.
And for the most part it's been pretty dumb. We're in the third plot arc now. The first arc introduced Beerus, God of Destruction, and gave Goku his latest powerup, the "Super Saiyajin God" level. It corresponds to the first recent movie, but tells the story slower and at greater length.
The second movie is about the revival of Freeza and his death again. And it also kills off all the minions he had remaining, so I think it's the last time. And that became the second arc in DBSuper, again told at greater length. The main contribution it made to the canon was to show that Goku had gained complete control over the Super Saiyajin God level, which changed from red to blue. Also, Vegita had gotten it, too.
The third and current arc introduced Champa. There are twelve universes and up to now we've spent all our time in universe 7, where Beerus is the God of Destruction. Champa is the twin brother of Beerus and is the God of Destruction of universe 6, and through some plot machinations which aren't worth going into the two of them have decided to have a tournament, where each brings a small team consisting of the strongest fighters in their respective universes.
The two universes are very similar, though not identical. There was an Earth in U6 but it's gone now because its inhabitants blew it up. There are Saiyajin in U6, and it seems they're good guys. They never suffered genocide. And some other stuff like that.
Anyway, in episode 37, Vegita fights against Kyaba, who is a saiyajin from U6. And it's awesome. Easily the best episode in the series so far. For one thing, it showed us a side of Vegita we don't get to see very often.
Another thing that was cool is that I picked out Kyaba's seiyuu without looking at the credits. He also voices Loki in Fairy Tail.
April 11, 2016
It's another 3:30 show (I seem to be sampling a lot of those this year) and it's a waste of time. In the first episode, the air conditioner in the student council room is broken and everyone is dying from the heat.
So obviously the solution is for everyone to take their clothes off!
Yeesh. That was the gag for this episode. It's obvious there isn't going to be any story here, and no characterization to speak of. They gave us some cheesecake shots but I don't feel like putting them together right now (maybe later).
April 09, 2016
This was a pleasant surprise. The series concept is two girls who attend a maritime academy hoping to become "Blue Mermaids". We've seen that before, haven't we?
Well, no. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be. For one thing, the MC "Mike" (pronounced mee-keh) seems initially to be a ditz but turns out not to be. I think it was an attempt to avoid making Mike a Mary-Sue, actually.
She and her friend Moka pledged to each other when they were in grade school that they'd both attend the academy, and after a time skip they both enter in the same class. The first thing that happens to new cadets is that they're assigned to operate ships -- and there isn't anyone else on the ship besides cadets.
This is Mike (lower right corner) and her crew.
Moka and Mike both get assigned as ship captains. Moka gets the Musashi, and Mike gets command of the destroyer Harekaze, which historically never existed. There was, however, a Harukaze built in the 1920's. But this isn't it; for one thing its engines are turbines. For another thing, it's got radar.
So it's kind of a mishmash. The fleet, consisting of a battleship and eight destroyers, sets off and are supposed to meet at a certain island.
Harekaze is late because the helm made a mistake and they steamed in the wrong direction for quite a long time. Mike radios about the mistake and apologizes.
And then they start taking fire, with live shells. Which isn't supposed to happen. A modern warship, with the instructor in command, is firing on them with a modern gun and making near misses. Mike tries three or four ways of communicating and gets ignored.
So she decides to return fire. And then it gets exciting.
I have no idea what's going on. The instructor is a complete enigma. Does she hate Mike for some reason? Or is it the exact opposite? Trial by fire to bring out Mike's best capability?
Mike actually comes off as pretty impressive in this. She doesn't freak. She takes her position as captain seriously. She is thinking. She issues orders, even when it's hard. Given that she just took her very first command a few hours ago, it's pretty good stuff.
But things are going to get worse in the next episode. I'm not sure whether it'll be possible to easily straighten out this mess. The ED suggests that they're going to have more "adventures" before it's over.
Girls on ships are big now, and clearly this is trying to cash in on that. But they're not doing the mecha-musume fetish, or some sort of fantasy setting. They're real girls on a plausible ship using realistic weapons. And the show isn't trying sell ship-porn. There's a lot of that but the concentration is on the girls. Also, it's not fan service (except one very brief scene).
I can see myself getting hooked on this show.
UPDATE: I think the short way to describe this show is "Girls und Destroyers."
April 07, 2016
It's another comedy anime about online fantasy RP gamers, except that this time they're trying to tell a story, in full length episodes.
I got about two thirds of the way through the first episode and realized I just didn't care. The basic story is that Our Hero, a guy, plays a guy character in a very popular MMORPG and he eventually became enraptured with a catgirl in the game and confessed his love to her.
And she was grateful but she admitted that the human behind the character was a middle-aged man. Our Hero was traumatized by this.
Flash forward a couple of years and he's part of a gaming guild with two other guys and one girl (as characters) and eventually one of them suggests they should meet IRL. So they do, and it turns out that the other two guys are actually girls, too. And they all attend the same high school.
One of them is the student body president. One is a flat-chested blonde with twintails who isn't a tsundere because she never makes it to dere. And the team's girl is also a girl, who is playing under her real name "Ako".
There's supposed to be a story about Ako not having very good social skills IRL and the other three trying to help her, but...
I just don't give a damn. There's a fair amount of eye candy and it'll be worth plundering in about 3 months, but it ain't worth watching.
The recent story line in the manga had a one year jump between chapters 417 and 418. The anime reached chapter 417 in the second series at episode 90, and they tossed in "Fairy Tail Zero" (which is anime original) beginning with episode 91.
Well, that ran ten episodes, and episode 101 picks back up again with manga chapter 418. And just to get us back in the rhythm of the series, they gave us some Lucy fan service.
Even when she's wearing street clothes, Lucy is nice to look at. One thing I like about Lucy as a character is that she's beautiful, she knows she's beautiful, and she likes being beautiful. She knows how she affects men and likes it, and she's not above using it to manipulate them.
But being beautiful isn't the core of her ego. What she likes most about herself is that she's a powerful and competent mage with a substantial record of accomplishments already to her credit, even though she's only about 18. She doesn't expect to make it through life by marrying a rich man and being a trophy wife, though she could have done exactly that. She wants to work and make it on her own, and she does so. She also knows she has room to improve, and during this one-year skip she trains constantly and gets a lot more powerful.
Her mother died when Lucy was small, and her father has also died, and he managed to squander the family fortune through risky investments and didn't leave her anything -- so she's on her own. She grew up a rich girl and thus got an excellent education, and in addition to being beautiful she's also very intelligent. Jason at Weekly Sorceror scouted her to be a regular underwear model (second picture up there) during the recent one-year skip, and she did it, and she's good at it. But she also talks him into hiring her as an assistant reporter and writer, and she works hard at it and gets pretty good.
And her knowledge of magic, which hugely surpasses anything Jason knows, turns out to be an asset to him. By episode 101 she's become very useful to him, and not just because he appreciates spending time with a world-class beauty. She's making her way, earning her living, and doing it well.
And that should make her a feminist icon, but of course it doesn't.
All the women in Fairy Tail are like that. They're all gorgeous but they're also all accomplished, equal to the men in Fairy Tail in all ways that are important. (No one tells Erza "Make me a sandwich" because she'd filet them.)
There's no glass ceiling. Erza is S-class, and there are only two others in the guild. At one point Makarov is missing and Erza gets selected to be the new guildmaster. (And the guild was founded by Mavis, who was the first guildmaster.) Fairy Tail is what SJW's say they want in life and in fiction (and games), but I'm sure that if an SJW looked at Fairy Tail, all they'd see was boobs. And then the reeling and writhing and fainting in coils would begin.
UPDATE: I need to learn to count. There are four total S-Class mages in Fairy Tail: Erza, Mirajane, Laxus, and Gildarts. So it's two women and two men.
April 06, 2016
The Times of London sez:
Communities in northern Japan are being overwhelmed by radioactive wild boars which are rampaging across the countryside after being contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The animals' numbers are increasing as the boar breed unhindered in the exclusion zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, and they are causing damage to farms well beyond the area poisoned by radiation. Hunters are shooting the boars as fast as they can, but local cities are running out of burial space and incinerator capacity to dispose of their corpses.
Obviously the solution is... high school girls with big jugs wearing powered exoskeletons and skimpy bikinis! (And hair color never found in nature!) Armed with anti-matter beams that annihilate the boar carcasses the girls have killed! And then they discover that it's a plot by an American multi-national to develop super-boars for some nefarious reason! And one of the girls gets captured! And she's confined in a dungeon along with a mutant boar with tentacles! And the other girls stage a heroic rescue!
Man, I can see it now! BD sales will set an all-time record!
Onigiri is not about rice balls, though it would be more enlightening if it were. It's based on a current? or forthcoming? MMORP phone game, in which the player is a guy and he manages to recruit a swarm of NPC companions, all of whom are cute girls, including one catgirl and one loli.
We've seen this before. And there's only two ways to approach it: take it completely seriously, even if you know it's stupid, or start laughing, and make fun of it all. This does the latter. Part of the reason is that episodes are 3:30 and you can't really be serious when you have so little time.
So they break the fourth wall constantly. For instance, the one guy doesn't have a voice. Everyone else does, but when he has something to say it shows up in a dialogue box.
In the first episode the team is just about to win a fight, and they waste time bickering about who gets to put in the killing blow so as to earn the experience points. This gives the enemy time to revive and blow them all over the countryside, miles away and separated from each other, but otherwise unhurt. Then we follow two of the girls who landed together.
Hmmm... looks like a random encounter to me! So let's strike a heroic pose, and then go to work!
Bows are fine, but you'll do better with a gun. MORE DAKKA!
Or a minigun (but I couldn't get a clean image of it). And let's finish this with a nuke!
Oops, looks like Shizuka was caught cheating.
This will be worth plundering (the way Bikini Warriors was) but it won't be worth watching (the way Bikini Warriors wasn't). Dropped.
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