Anilog Monthly: January 2018

Anilog is back with a new format. Instead of featuring weekly roundups of seasonal anime, this will be a monthly thing where I briefly share my thoughts on the non-seasonal stuff I watched in a month.

So the first month of the year is gone, and I haven’t finished my “Favorites from 2017” series (I was supposed to complete it by 15 January!) and I haven’t started watching any Winter 2018 shows. So yeah… not a good ‘New Years start’ in terms of blogging.

I have been continuing on March Comes in Like a Lion and Gintama, and binged on Devilman: Crybaby, but that’s about it for seasonal stuff. I have been mostly watching old non-seasonal shows last month instead, and so this list will be a bit long.

Devilman OVAs (“The Birth” & “The Demon Bird”)

maxresdefault (17).jpg

Before I watched Crybaby, I wanted to get to know a bit about the original- so I watched “The Birth” (1987). It was alright- the script is pretty cheesy and the demon artwork looked cool. After I learned that the dub is hilarious, I regretted going in blind. So I watched “The Demon Bird” dubbed and it was a much more enjoyable experience- the gore got really entertaining and the voice acting really supplemented the exaggerated script with hilarity. Would I recommend watching it? Yeah, it was fairly entertaining.

Shimoneta

2168d85d288400646ae2d98e7fabcfe1.jpg

I haven’t really watched any ecchi shows for a long time and I decided to check some out. Shimoneta is pretty entertaining and tightly paced. I liked Anna’s character design a lot- it’s the near-perfect deception of her real character and, at the same time, really hot when she gets in that mood. Premise-wise it’s unique, it’s a funny- though, this anime isn’t exactly something one shouldn’t binge on. But I did (being the unhealthy anime watcher I am) and I got tired of the comedy pretty quickly.

Kuuchuu Buranko

Kuuchuu-Buranko.jpg

This my favorite series I watched from last month. I love the art- the color-palette poppy, vibrant, adequately poke-dotted and the real faces on the anime characters were an interesting touch (which reminded me of Yuasa’s Mind Game). The anime is an episodic one where an eccentric psychriatrist treats patients with mental disorders. Except, it’s not about Irabu (although I really wanted the anime to focus on him at some point), it’s about each mental patient overcoming their problems themselves. The anime also tells the viewers that the way Irabu handles his cases is not typical of a psychriatrist-but it also informs the viewers of many psychological symptoms. The way the show uses its eccentric visual devices to construct a tight character storyline is pretty impressive. The anime also has a really nice script, the playful-and-off-tone soundtrack is really memorable and I really want to write something constructive about this in the near future- so I have to stop gushing. Also, I am now going to start checking out more of Kenji Nakamura- like that revered “Mononoke” series.

Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman

3952.jpg

This OVA series was recommended to me by fellow blogger ospreyshire (he also wrote a review of it)- under the claim that it has a nice way of handling parody. And I wasn’t disappointed, the parody is done pretty subtly, something that isn’t seen in most ‘meta’ anime these days- the show doesn’t stop at endlessly poke at the viewer and say, “Oh! Look at that reference and that self-deprecating jab that we made to ourselves and our genre! Aren’t we smart?”. The characters are named after their voice actors, the Shinesman have colors like Moss Green, Salmon Pink and Grey and Sepia (the only ‘normal’ color being red). I watched the show in dub, and it’s great. The story, however, I don’t care for and the OVA series is only 2 episodes and I think the plot would be better hashed out with a proper TV series. I recommend watching this if you like parody.

Junk Boy

0019d782_medium.png

 

Being a predecessor of Golden Boy (I need to get back to that series), it is a softcore-porn version of Golden Boy. The character designs are worse, the comedy is worse and I don’t know how I got through the OVA- maybe, I wanted to see some hot ladies, but even that wasn’t satiated. It’s bad- I don’t see any redeeming qualities to it, other than it reminded me to go watch Golden Boy.

Colorful

colorful1-1.jpg
The girls are drawn way better than the boys, and that’s enough to tell you what the show’s about

From Golden Boy to this, well it’s not much of a leap- this ecchi collage of a series is more engaging and a bit more funny and a lot more creepier than Junk Boy. This anime has really cool editing, the eye catches are great and the use of repetitive imagery is entertaining. The repetitive comedy, not matter how ridiculous the facial expressions are, gets kind of bland and the creep factor of those invasive perverted shots made me uncomfortable at some points- especially with the Yamamoto ones, where the teacher ‘accidentally’ ends up lusting after his student in several scenes. Do I recommend it? I don’t know- it is pretty weird, but it nails that strange, invasive aesthetic. The good thing is, the anime doesn’t support creepy perverts.

Wicked City

Wicked-city-1.jpg

This is pretty cool, immediate horror-noir movie (by Yoshiaki Kawajiri) that one might find enjoyable if they have a tolerance for contrived nude scenes and a lack of contextual plot. The visuals hold the tone pretty well with dark and contrast-based color gradients and kooky demon designs (like demons with teethy vaginas… yeah). But, like I mentioned before, there are some porny scenes just for the sake of it- and they are not really erotic, either- because I wasn’t into the character art.

Aki-Sora

aki-sora-aoi-siblings.jpg

There are better incest shows out there (like Koi Kaze). The anime tries to come across as a raw, realistic portrayal of incest through its sex scenes- but it just ends up being shota porn. And it’s not enjoyable porn- I still can’t get behind these sibling porn popping up everywhere but I digress. I forgot the character names already and their character dynamic is only limited to their bedrooms and sparse flashback cuts. I am still having a hard time figuring out how this isn’t labelled hentai when “A Kite” is. And just to be clear, I am not judging this because this has incest in it, it’s rather that the anime uses the incest tag for posturing and hide behind it without putting out a good story or interesting character interactions.

Golgo 13: Queen Bee

17842-golgo-13-queen-bee-0-230-0-345-crop.jpg

I have never watched any works from Osamu Dezaki before, and I watched this just because of that. I should have watched its prequel first to be familiar with Togo. But I think it feels ‘stand-alone’ enough to make the plot make sense- this is because the main protagonist of this film is Queen Bee and her shenanigans, with some cool action and ridiculous plot elements (with the most notable one being her fathering every man she slept with). Overall, it’s alright and the ending song was pretty good. I enjoyed it enough to be curious about the other Golgo anime.

 

 

Otaku no Video

maxresdefault (18).jpg

This mockumentary handles its tone pretty well- it’s ridiculing and being nostalgic about otaku culture in the 80s (and 90s) at the same time. Even though the setting is dated, the OVAs give interesting insight into the lives of anime fans in that time period. It’s also an exaggerated tale of how Gainax was made. Watching this made me go and watch the Daicon openings, and the context of their creation really elevated my appreciation for them- it’s amazing that a trio of college students made those cuts of impactful animation. Anyway, ‘Otaku no Video’ is pretty clear about what it was made for and it serves its purpose as best as it can. I really enjoyed and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in knowing about otaku culture in the 80s.

Highschool of the Dead

Gang-highschool-of-the-dead-31085513-1280-720.jpg

I expected much worse from this title, but I ended up finding it fairly entertaining. Tetsuro Araki’s bombastic action cuts contributed to the majority of the entertainment factor. The fanservice cuts were scattered in sheer numbers but with digestible bites- so it wasn’t as grotesque as I thought it would be. The story and characters- I never cared for, so I think the anime has serviceable writing at best. All in all, I came away with the feeling that this anime has a worse rep than it deserves- which discouraged me from watching it in the first place.

That’s it for this post. Feel free to comment and share your opinions on the anime I wrote about here.

Advertisements

March Comes in Like a Lion S2 Ep 16: “Restart”

Souya and Rei’s interactions end rather abruptly, leaving Rei in a state as if a typhoon passed through him. But he is pulled back to the real world as Nikaidou elegantly beats his first opponent with a new method just after he gets discharged from the hospital. Meanwhile, the Kawamotos present a revolutionary way of boiling eggs in the most funny and blown-up way possible.Read More »

Favorite Music from 2017 [Kpop]

I have been an active Kpop-listener for just over two years now, and I have come to realize that I don’t enjoy Kpop the same way I do for music, in general. Sure, I appreciate the musical aspect of the songs, but visuals matter too (which doesn’t matter at all for English songs). For example, I recently started ‘stanning’ (am I using the word right?) Red Velvet- I have watched about 40 percent of their radio and reality shows (in subs, of course) and I streamed “Peek-A-Boo” when it came out for a day or two- and that’s not what I do for English or Japanese pop groups.

Kpop is a manufactured thing- everything is, but it is more conspicuous for Kpop- and I won’t argue that, but there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying the cute girls, pretty boys (with their colorful wardrobes) and the bubblegum synths and not think about how cliche the lyrics are- again, not that I care much about lyrics. That said, I don’t know whether or not I can continue to be more of an active Kpop fan like I have been for anime for five years- but I do know that I’m enjoying it now, and that’s what matters the most.Read More »

Favorite Music from 2017 [Japanese Songs]

Oh no. Once I have hopped on to this “favorites from last year lists” bandwagon- I ain’t getting off yet. I will complete this project even if it takes another whole month…

I used to listen to a lot of Japanese music when I was in seventh grade, the English songs I heard in the radio sounded too ‘grown up’ for me and so I listened to songs that didn’t make sense to me- they sounded fresh every time I listened to them. I used to listen to a lot of Nico Touches the Walls, GReeeeN and Monkey Majik (I am an artist-centric music listener, which is pretty obvious given the format I make these music lists in). My friends around me were disgusted for some reason, and they said, ‘Why don’t you listen to cool stuff?’- I shrugged (like every self-centric-soft-spoken guy who doesn’t think things can be objectively cool). At least, cringe culture wasn’t prevalent then- so I wasn’t victim to unnecessarily harsh words or bullying.Read More »

March Comes in Like a Lion S2 Ep 13: “It’s Over… Probably”

The bullying arc comes to a conclusion with apt intervention from Kokubu and Chiho reaches out to Hina. Rei’s efforts get validated (bitingly) by Hina. This was one of those weirdly paced episodes where the show over indulges in some cuts- or maybe it’s just Takagi, and how much I dislike her character- it seems pretty lazily written. Nonetheless, I never hated any episode of Sangatsu, and this is definitely not one.Read More »