January 28, 2008

Shows I'll never watch: Yumeria

ANN sez:

On his 16th birthday, Tomokazu Mikuri had a realistic dream where he sees a girl battling a giant floating monstrosity. When he wakes up, he is surprised that the girl is actually sleeping next to him... Whenever he sleeps from now on, he ends up back at the dream world, and more and more people that he knows keep showing up there too. He finds out from a mysterious masked woman in the dream world named Silk that they are fighting against one named Faydoom, and he is the one who provides the powers to those girls so that they can fight these monsters.

What ANN doesn't say is how he "provides the power" to those girls, a couple of which are lolis.

He molests them. That powers them up so they can fight.

There's also a PS2 game, though I'm not clear which came first. It gives numbers. Mone is 4'6" tall, with measurements 26/20/27. Yeah, sure; tell me that's an adult.

They don't give an age for her. The others: Miduki is 16, Nanase is 22, Kuyou is 14, and Neneko also doesn't have an age. That one's 4'2", obviously another adult.

I have the feeling that deep down this is a Sakura Wars rip off, at least at the game level. The Sakura Wars game franchise was immensely successful. The fighting team was all girls but led by the male player avatar (Ogami). Part of the game was keeping the girls happy, and part of it was fighting battles. If the girls were happy, they fought better.

In SW, "keeping the girls happy" was entirely G-rated and platonic. In Yumeria I would bet it's borderline hentai, and "happy" may not be the goal anyway. And in the anime, the guy does things to the lolis I have no interest in seeing.

No, thanks.

UPDATE: Actually, I ended up changing my mind and did get this one. It was... OK. I guess. It certainly wasn't quite the lolicon pander series I thought it would be. But it wasn't really all that good, either. I ended up giving it two stars.

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January 19, 2008

Shows I'll never watch: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE

CLAMP (the all-girl orchestra) finally ran out of ideas. So they decided to recycle all their old ones for a new manga and anime series.

Shaoran and Sakura star, but it's not the ones we know. They're older. Sakura is a princess of the Clow kingdom. Shaoran is a commoner, her childhood friend. Some bad guys try to steal Sakura's magical power, and as a result she loses her memory. It's fragmented and spread all over the place (as tattoos on naked elves) in alternate universes, and with the help of the mystic Mokona they have to travel from alternate to alternate and try to recapture the pieces.

And just what are all these alternates? Well, they're revamped versions of all of CLAMP's old series. For instance, Chii is listed in the credits. (Different voice actress, however.) I don't see anything listed from Angelic Layer but I bet that's just because the list isn't complete.

52 episodes later they ended it, but they're still traveling. Then there was a 3-ep OVA, which also doesn't finish the story.

No thanks.

CLAMP has given me some good times, but there comes a point where their "be weird just for the sake of being weird" act starts to grate. This show sounds like a total case of author-gratification, cynically foisted off on an existing body of fans "because those idiots will buy anything we do."

AND thEY Need TO dO SOMeThING ABOUT tHAt capS LOcK kEy.

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January 08, 2008

Shows I'll never watch: Midori Days

Midori Days: Thirteen episodes about a guy falling in love with his right hand.

High school delinquent Seiji Sawamura is desperate to have a girlfriend, especially after being rejected by 20 girls as of late. He's afraid that he will end his life with his right hand as his only companion. Apparently, that doesn't change when one day when he wakes up and discovers that his right hand has become a girl named Midori Kasugano, who confesses that she has had a crush on him for the last three years.

Eeew. I didn't believe this concept when I first heard of it, and I still don't. There's Freudian, and then there's


Freudian!

 

...and this is the latter.

Of course, it was released in Region 1 by Media Blasters, who also did High School Girls and Gakuen Heaven. Who else would license it, after all?

UPDATE: Author begs to dispute. And I've been told by a reliable source that it sold extremely well. I can't say I'm all that surprised.

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October 07, 2007

Series I'll never watch: Gundam anything

There's yet another Gundam series beginning now, and there's a description of it here. Which reminded me that I hadn't mentioned that I'm not even slightly interested in the series.

It's everything that's wrong with mecha shows, as far as I'm concerned. It's everything that's wrong with anime which is designed primarily to sell toys. It's been sequelized so much that the thin soup is now indistinguishable from distilled water.

Have you seen how many Gundam series and movies there have been? (And I thought DBZ went on interminably long! Sheesh.) And every one is 14 year old boy wish-fulfilment. Even when I was that age I would have known how stupid it was.

I'll give them points for including at least one battle mecha on tracks instead of on legs in the original series. But it's still a stupid design. Tall, with a short footprint, is still easier to hit and easier to knock down than short and flat like a tank. If those guns are anything like reasonable weapons, the recoil risks knocking that thing on its backside. And why, oh why, oh why has it got arms? Dumb, dumb, dumb...

Not interested, not curious.

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September 15, 2007

Series I'll never watch: Pandalian

I was just looking at the "recent licenses" list at AnimeSuki and saw that Funimation just announced a title called "Pandalian". So I looked it up on ANN.

The publicity photo for it shows a panda riding a skate board. That's enough; I'm not interested.

(Sigh. Even though Paku Romi is in it. Sigh.)

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September 08, 2007

Shows I'll never watch: Full Metal Alchemist

I confess that a lot of my resistance to watching Full Metal Alchemist is childish stubbornness. About three years ago a young woman who used to be a reader of mine, and almost certainly is not any longer, pestered me constantly about how cool and marvelous it was, and I've always reacted extremely negatively to full-court-press hype. I think that kind of negative reaction was a survival skill for those of us who grew up during the era of only-five-TV-channels, given how absurdly emphatic a lot of hard-sell advertising was. So my natural reaction when anyone puts that kind of pressure on me is likely to get an acutely negative reaction.

The young woman in question eventually gave up.

But there were other reasons why I wasn't thrilled by it. First, it seems to be a bit grim, and generally I don't like down-beat stories. There's no woman as a continuing character, another down-check. (I confess it: I like girls.) And I hear tell that about two thirds of the way through the series they do a Gainax and change everything. What had previously been explained as being magic is suddenly explained as being high tech.

I've heard that the ending is weird. But the biggest reason why I was never tempted to watch is that the story concept just doesn't intrigue me. It still doesn't.

But I did notice something that confuses me, and does make me wonder if I've made a mistake. More of the confusion than the questioning,  but that's as may be.

The two main characters are brothers who try to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life. As a result of it, Edward loses his leg and arm (which are replaced by metal prosthetics) and Alphonse loses his entire body (which is replaced by a metal prosthetic body).

Why is it that both of them are voiced by women? Edward is voiced by Paku Romi, whose work as Nayuta in Shingu I really, really enjoyed. And Alphonse, the one living inside the giant robot body, is voiced by Kugimiya Rie -- who did Futaba in Shingu and was Shana in Shakugan no Shana and generally does "little girl" voices. (Not always, but usually.)

What the heck? Is the idea that they're both still very young? From the series concept they're both adults by the time the first episode begins. Why do they have those voices? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

But considering how much I enjoyed Paku Romi's performance as Nayuta, I'm interested in finding something else she starred in to watch. It won't be Naruto, because her character Temari is apparently not a very big role. So I was looking down her list of characters and spotted Full Metal Alchemist, hence my confusion and this post.

It might be "The Law of Ueki". It's a stupid concept for a series, but I think I'm going to try a DVD or two of it. Even if it is stupid, her performance may redeem it.

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August 24, 2007

Series I'll never watch: Full Moon wo Sagashite

Kids can be cruel and insensitive. Humans are like dogs: we have to be socialized. We're born animals.

So I admit that I was mean to my younger sister sometimes. She had different tastes in fiction than I did. By mid grade school I was already reading science fiction. Her favorite stuff is what I at the time referred to as "sob sob stories". I'd occasionally interrupt her in her room when she was reading, sobbing uncontrollably -- and I'd kid her mercilessly. (This when I was 10 and she was 8.)

There's a genre of anime like that. Or at least, there's a lot of series like that. Not all shoujo stories are like that, but that's the genre where you'll find this. I've seen a couple, and I never want to see another. (Princess Nine, I'm never going to look at you again.)

The goal of the writing is to try to maximize the hankie count among the girls who watch it, and they wring every sob possible out of the situation. Or at least that's how Princess Nine felt, and I'm sure it's like that for a lot of others. Like, for instance, Full Moon wo Sagashite. Here's the series summary:

Twelve-year-old Kouyama Mitsuki was devastated when she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the throat. She had made a promise to the boy she loves that she would one day become a singer, but her illness made singing impossible. To make matters even worse, two angels of death, Takuto and Meroko, appeared to Mitsuki and informed her that she only had one year left to live. This news provides an even greater motivation for Mitsuki to fulfill her dreams, and with a little bit of divine intervention, she begins her quest to become a professional singer so she can be reunited with Eichi before time runs out.

And from that they managed to wring fully 52 episodes.

For all I know they actually pulled out a happy ending. Maybe there was some sort of miracle that cured her cancer. Who knows.

What I know is that I don't have the slightest interest in watching the series to find out. I'm sorry now that I used to tease my sister about her sob-sob stories. But I also know that I don't like them -- even if they have happy endings. Experiencing such a story is sheer torture for me.

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August 12, 2007

Shows I'm ambivalent about 1: Princess Tutu

While we're on the subject, there are also shows I have very mixed feelings about. They might be good, and they might be utter trash.

Princess Tutu -- a duck falls in love with a prince. She is given a magical mcguffin which permits her to transform into a girl, and also into a magical ballerina. When in ballerina form, her dance can perform magic, and she has to overcome enemies by dancing for them.

It's original. I'll give them that. So as I sometimes do when I want to get an idea about a show without seeing any spoilers, I went to Chris Beveridge and looked at his letter scores without reading the rest of his reviews. And his scores? A-, A, A+, A, A, A for the six DVDs respectively.

Ouch. The last time I saw him so enthusiastic about a series when doing this, it was Shingu. Ouch again.

Why am I afraid of it? Because I'm getting Fancy Lala vibes. Pixy loved Fancy Lala, and I guess I can see why. But I watched 4.5 episodes of it and simply could not force myself to watch any more.

He described the series as "little girl wish-fulfilment" and he was exactly right about that. Lala is 8 years old, plus or minus, and she lives in an innocent world where no one ever tries to take advantage of her. God (I assume it was) gives her a magic mcguffin and two living plushies and with their help she can transform herself into a 16-year-old girl who rapidly becomes a successful model and idol.

I kept expecting someone to start groping her, and it never happened. That's the problem. I don't live in an innocent world, and I couldn't stop cringing. Fancy Lala is probably a very good show for the right audience, but I'm not that audience. I fear that Princess Tutu might be the same.

Princess Tutu is clearly a kid's show, but that alone doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. It might be another Sugar or Petite Princess Yucie, which isn't dumbed down and is worth watching even for adults. But I'm terribly afraid that it's going to be more like Fancy Lala.

It may be moot. ADV discontinued it. But if it comes back out as a thinpak (which is likely) then I face an all-or-nothing decision about the series.

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Series I'll never watch 4: Shounen Ai

It's an entire genre. Shounen Ai means "boy love", and boy, I don't love it. Here are some examples of why:

Gakuen Heaven -- is about love and romance at an all male boarding school. Take Marimite and sex-change everyone and you'd get this show. It isn't yaoi; there's no graphic sex. Instead, this genre loads up on the angst. And the bishounen.

Sometimes shows in this genre retain some semblance of heterosexual leanings. Sort of. Kind of.

Princess Princess -- Another all male high school. At least at this one the guys are trying to stay hetero. So they pick the most androgenous member of each incoming class and designate that him a hime. The "Princesses" have to crossdress in goth-loli style as much as possible, just to let everyone else remember what girls are like.

Just writing about these things makes me feel soiled. But when it comes to licensing, there's nothing that MediaBlasters won't consider. They bought both of them.

Why, oh why, with utter crap like this getting licensed, is it that no one has picked up Magipoka yet? It seems as if the only plausible answer is that the Japanese studio that owns the rights is asking too much money for it.

UPDATE: MediaBlasters announced the license of Princess Princess at the same time they announced the license of Girls High. There's an odd sort of symmetry in that, I guess.

They also announced Noodle Fighter Miki that day, but I'm not sure how that fits in.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Never Watch at 05:36 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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August 11, 2007

Series I'll never watch 3: Otome wa boku ni koishiteru

So what's wrong with this one? It wants me to believe that this person is a 17-year-old guy. Wrong. Not possible.

This is a common problem with H-game conversions which try to preserve the original story without bringing across all the sex. The story usually doesn't make any sense and without the sex it's also pointless. (Most H-games don't have stories. What they have is scenarios, setups.)

The theory here is that this person's rich grandparent had wanted an offspring to go to a particular prestigious girl's high school but was frustrated by not having any female offspring. So in their will they made a huge bequest for this grandson conditional on him attending and graduating from said prestigious girl's school.

That part's fine. Well, no, it isn't. It would be a lot easier to buy if it were a middle school. Our hero's voice hasn't changed? He hasn't started shaving? I remember all the things that happened to me at puberty. This guy hasn't started packing on muscle? His hips got wide instead of his shoulders?

And would a surreptitious guy really wear a haltertop like that? And do you believe he'd look that good in it? That's at least D-cups, and there's no way they're falsies.

If that's a guy, he's been taking pills, and I mean the wrong kind of pills. The only way "he" could look like that is if he was being overloaded with estrogen in preparation for surgery, to the point where puberty was suppressed.

Popotan is also an H-game conversion, but they chucked the original story (and the protagonist) entirely. The only thing they used from the game was the character designs of the girls and the original name. Popotan is not top-shelf but it's better than you might think (if you can get past the "eew" factor inherent in the Mii character) and it has a pretty decent story to tell.

It's entirely possible that this series also has a decent story to tell, but I'm not interested in finding out. I don't need traps, for one thing, and this conceit would require stretching my suspension-of-disbelief way beyond the breaking point.

No way that's a guy.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Never Watch at 02:43 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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