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The Depravity of Inuyashiki

Sigh. This show started out so well — interesting main character, great concept, and it slowly lost it all by coarsening the content until you became aware that maybe that was the point. There were indications of laziness and unbelievability mixed in, too. In short, don’t bother unless the sadism of Corpse Party is your thing, and if it is, get help.

Episode 1 — a great beginning. Basically you have a man who appears older than he is, Inuyashiki, who is despairing of life. He is ignored by his self-absorbed children, treated as an object by his wife, and in poor health. An alien craft visits the hill that he and a youth are standing upon and vaporizes them both, but in an attempt to cover up the visitation, reconstructs them with the technology they have on hand, which is weapons-based. Inuyashiki then discovers how to use his powers and in the end, saves a guy’s life from a gang of middle-schoolers.

Episode 2/3 — if you ever wanted to see a graphic depiction of evil, here you go. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep watching (and I suspect most people wouldn’t). This shows the other main character, a schoolboy, murdering an entire family including an infant. There’s no deeper meaning here, except the horrific nature of evil. This could have been depicted a hundred other ways with much more effect; in fact, when you do see this character strike again (ep 3), it’s handled with a minimalism that is chilling.

Episode 4 — homosexual rape, possibly rape-murder. Enough is enough.

OO verdict — avoid at all costs.

Welcome to the graveyard, Inuyashiki.

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Winter Anime 2017

Here it is anew, a short listing of this seasons anime` and my initial take on them.

I didn’t bother with Love Live (sigh), or Id@lmaster, because I’ve already given up or disliked their predecessors.

Yes


Animegataris — Cute, funny show about anime fans.
Inuyashiki — Wow. I can’t wait to see how this develops.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau — Fantasy with an interesting milleau

Maybe


Houseki no Kuni — Interesting and well-thought-out concept, characterization is good
Two Car — Main characters are cool and I watched it all the way to the end, so that’s something.

No


Black Clover — Yuno is too annoying. I hate his voice and his personality is like a caricature.
Blend S — Basically porn
Dynamic Chord — Band animes don’t usually work unless they’re really good. This is not. Shallow, too much music that’s not any good.
Evil or Live — Interesting idea, but lame non-animated elements and profanity
Garo – Vanishing Line — Stereotypical shonen-fest
Himouto! Umaru-chan R — Chibi. No.
Imouto sae Ireba II — Incest.
Juuni Taisen — Sadistic. This is the kind of show that creates psychotics.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond — An over-the-top gory comedy that unsurprisingly isn’t funny
Onyakapon — I hate the anime style — mechanical and computer-generated, shallow, and probably aimed at jr high folks
Osake we Fuufu ni Natte Kara — Romance of alcohol. I think this has already been done enough in American culture, even though I really like mixed drinks myself.
Sengoku Night Blood — Medieval country unification, again. Boring.
UQ Holder — Happy porno vampires!!! Uhm, no way.
Wake up Girls! Shin Shou — Slightly better than Love Live, but still not good enough. Shallow.

The Return

I haven’t had much time to watch anime` lately. It’s weird and it’s unsettling, the way that life has intruded and suddenly, I’ve found my weekends occupied with home repair, travels to the in-laws, church, cleaning up the house, pet duties, financial concerns, and so many other nuts and bolts of real life. What I have recently rediscovered though is something which I knew all along — I need an escape, a place of healthy imagination and stories that inspire and transport me. I’ve always known this, but I haven’t taken the time to nurture my own spirit in this way.

It began with a weekend that my wife was visiting her folks and I plopped down to watch When Marnie Was There, a Studio Ghibli film. I think it was the film that drove me to finding something more meaningful. Long story short: like most of their films, it fails to ignite and it misses nearly every opportunity to deliver a meaningful impact. That left me unsatisfied, so this week, I rewatched Plastic Memories, and found it somehow healing. Yes, it’s a heavy show, but its purity and its perspective on making your life count linger.

I had felt like something was missing, and anime was one part of that. There are others, I know, but I’m back to write more about anime`, purity, and truth.

Spring 2016 Anime`

Here’s the OO short take on this season’s anime`.

Yes


Kisnaiver – Eerie SF with some very cool spiritual overtones.
Mayoiga (Lost Village) – Atmospheric, eerie, tense. YES.
Pan de Peace – lighthearted but with enough plot to prove interesting. Short episodes, though. May not pan out. Hehe.
Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Humorous fantasy that riffs off MMORPGs. Unpredictable and intriguing.
Seisen Cerebrus – Sword/sorcery fantasy with some darker elements. We’ll see.
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou – A cooking/music mashup. Crazy but it might work.

No


Ace Attorney – Somewhat interesting, but overdramatic.
Anne Happy – Too much shojou dazzle. Sickeningly sweet.
Bakoni! – Idea is not bad, but it gets pervy fast.
Big Order – Ridiculously fast-pased, doesn’t-add-up gifted thing with nonserious music.
Bako no Hero Academia – Overdramatic superhero show + profanities.
Endride – Generic buddy fantasy with overdone music. Not involving or interesting.
Haifuri – Nothing trashy, but shallow and by the numbers.
Hundred – Not a bad superhero/gifted setup, but it’s ruined by an undercurrent of perv.
Kuma Miko – Slice-of-life, some humor, but perviness.
Onigri – Certain kinds of perverts role-play. This one’s for them. Ugh.
Sakamoto Desu Ga – Over-the-top series about a guy who is ridiculously cool. Just not interesting.
Space Patrol Luluco – Silly and mindless. Great ending theme song though.
Sansha Sanyou – Aimed at the jr. high set, but at least it’s not Pretty Cure.
Usakame – Hyperfast linguistic pun/slice-of-life/non-sequitur mishmash with poor art and oversexed characters.
Wagamama High Spec – When the characters discard their clothes in the first 30 seconds, you know what you’re in for. Ugh.

Winter Anime` Season 2016

Here’s the OO short take on this season’s anime`.

No


Dimension W – retro-futuristic shonen-fest with a pervy fembot.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – Fantasy RPG that ends up in pervert land.
Haruchika – Sigh. Starts off good but goes into homo land pretty early.
Koukakaku no Pandora – Soft-core pornography. Ugh.
Musaigen no Phantom World – Pervert time.
Nijiiro Days – Too mainstream and sappy for me, but nothing messed up.
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R – Shojou dazzle overload. Gah.
Ojisan to Marshmellow – Painful and pervy.
Ooyasan wa Shishunki – It’s that nasty combo of cute and loli.
Oshiete! Gaiko-chan – Pervert time and minimal animation. Double fail.
Schwarzesmarken – An especially unconvincing mecha series with mass profanity.
Shoju-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu – Guy meets girl to write a yuri game. Uh, no.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Boring.

Yes


Active Raid – Feels like a mix of Gunparade Orchestra and Majestic Prince!
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – Odd, erie. Definitely worth watching.
Divine Gate – A little stereotypical school/gifted thing, but the main character is interesting.
Luck and Logic – Looks like it could be good. Superhero, but enough depth to be interesting.
Prince of Stride – Semi-stereotypical and formulaic, but it has an innocent heart. We’ll see.
Sekkou Boys – Hilarious. I can’t wait to see how this develops.
Sushi Police – Pretty funny.
Tabi Machi Late Show – Wistful, slice-of-life/coming of age, and cooking. A bit slow and minimal animation, but we’ll see.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days: Beyond the Clouds (for this review, Beyond…) is a 90-minute animated movie by ComixWave. It takes place in the near future and is told in a bittersweet coming-of-age retrospective narration. It’s a soft SF setup that involves parallel worlds. All of these things appeal to me, which is why when they don’t work, I feel more let down than most, and Beyond… lets you down.

The overall problem with Beyond… is the usual lack of focus and editing that plague anime` movies; there’s simply not enough done to make it shine, and so it ends up as this less-than-stellar, but not altogether bad concoction. The material is often slice-of-life (which isn’t bad by itself), but it doesn’t crystallize moments and then use them to connect to the plot trajectory. Too many things are unexplained. [Warning: spoilers ahead!]

Take the loose connection between Sayuri and the parallel worlds, for starters. Then, why is it a problem if a parallel world overwrites a certain square mileage? How did they figure out that the tower was actually a weapon? What is the NSA doing in Japan (probably the most annoying stretch of all)? While I can understand that Takuya and Hiyakuri like Sayuri, that is always more suggested than shown. Yes, she’s supposed to be this soul out of time, but the movie doesn’t really make the case for it, or it’s just too subtle for non-Japanese people to get. Yes, there’s SOME work there by referencing the poet Miyazawa Kenji, but really, a movie needs to SHOW more. Why Hiyakuri falls for Sayuri isn’t really shown or explained, and the whole time you wonder why Takuya let her go; that’s not explained either. The movie concludes convincingly ending on a bittersweet note though, so points for that, but the plot, pacing, and editing are serious minuses.

The animation style is not photorealist, but a softer detailed style when it comes to scenery, vehicles, landscapes, and so on. The characters share the same color palette, and aren’t given the same level of detail, but it works and isn’t jarring. There are quite a few beautiful scenes of stilled time, and you almost get the experience of having been there, smelling the wind, and feeling the hot pavement beneath your feet. Very well done. The music is minimal except for the main theme, which is emotive but never really expanded; the closing song is haunting and the quality of the singer’s voice is excellent.

Emotionally, the movie collapses under the weight of its own sentiment. Even the retrospective narrated style doesn’t save it (and it actually has problems because the whole story isn’t told through Hiyakuri’s eyes, so why is he narrating something he couldn’t have experienced?). It’s often lovelorn for no purpose and descends into irritating mawkish sentimentality. Editing and a few different scenes would have saved it, and brought the other themes into greater relief.

Speaking of themes, the growing up theme works, the love theme frays (due to the parallel worlds and the hospital angles). War is mentioned just as something that people want to start for no real reason, and its cost is shown a few times, demonstrating a typical pacifist non-understanding of war. Positive and critical references to prayer and a single God appear, but these are strictly to gain human love. I don’t recall any profanities. Some arguably sensual shots occur here and there, but nothing overt. On the whole, nothing bad, but nothing monumental either.

Thora does a great job on the subbing. The font is easy to read, and even the song at the end is done (kudos!). They even did many of the signs so you can see what the narrator sees. The translation appears accurate, but I didn’t focus on that. I only watched it once and I might watch it again someday, but probably not — I just don’t have the interest to sit through the whole thing again.

Hunt your favorite torrent holes if you want it. I suspect it is actually available to buy, but not subbed or dubbed.

Have you ever been to a neighborhood that’s just being built? Have you ever been inside the model homes when they weren’t finished (and were prepared to run away real fast if someone yelled out, “Hey you kids!”)? I have, and seeing what looked good on the outside and what didn’t pan out inside is probably the best way to describe Atelier Escha and Logy — Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.

The early episodes are beautifully animated, and the theme music is top-notch. So far, so good. The setting also draws you in, being a slowed-time, wistful, slice-of-life steampunk tale of an alchemy bureau in a small town. However, you soon realize that the pacing isn’t meandering, it’s immobile. When characters are developed, the whole episode just becomes back story for that character, and their relationships to others aren’t explored at all. Then the obligatory fan service episode shows up. After that, everything finishes in a rush to explore the one thing that’s been obvious since the first or second episode. It all feels like a less polished, less emotional To Heart. Even the ending collapses into a maudlin pit of mush; the bittersweet tinge doesn’t save it.

Save your time and your eyeballs. There’s no real reason to watch this as it never turns the corner and it delivers so much less than it promises. With that said, there’s nothing objectionable except for the fan service episode and that’s the usual hot tub obscured nudity for no real purpose.

Welcome to the graveyard, Escha and Logy.