Blog in Shutdown

I had truly hoped to get back on track this season. There are so many great shows I feel the most excited about being able to critique stuff than I ever have been since I started this little enterprise.

Unfortunately, certain events have been in motion and the likelihood of me turning homeless before the end of the season is the likely end result. Yes, for those who remember last summer, again.

If my situation should improve, I’ll return. Until then, I’m too distracted to keep up here. I’ll continue to peek in on all of your articles, of course. And maybe ramble my ramblings there.  Thanks for supporting the rantings of a crazy woman so far, I hope we’ll get to pick up this journey again.

Spring 2015: Part 2

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Oh, it’s been a month. Quite a month! Lots of things to say and lament, and over much fewer shows than the first installment.

But let’s not wait, let’s just get to it!

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Arslan Senki

Now that the show’s starting to get into the swing of the story it’s picking up a bit from the plot side of things.  Characters remain the strong point along with presentation.  In all the atmosphere of Pars is wonderfully realized, and I love the palatial life they’ve constructed even if we’ve only been exposed to it very briefly.  It has a strange, first-person telling of the history-book presentation we had back in Madan no Ou to Vanadis.

I think that’s the big reason the simplicity of the narrative is easier to swallow now than it was earlier in the series.  As time progresses, this is almost like a direct adaption of a story by Herodotus, very straightforward and embellished, yet methodical and plodding event by event.  And yet it hasn’t needed to fallback on a narrator or other transition device to get this across yet.  In all I think it comes across rather elegantly in this manner.  That’s not to say the narrative has been flawless, it’s still been following a rather predictable formula (Oh, Arslan is going to beat an entire army with his four guys by outwitting them with a simple trick, how unexpected).  The strong parts remain the character interactions as they go about their rather pre-ordained roles, the banter in this series is fantastic and keeps it all rather elevated.

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Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: ViVid

This show’s suffering from a lot of the pacing issues we had in early StrikerS.  The edge here is that I’m fairly certain the series will always be ABOUT Vivio, so we won’t just siderail a cast change mid-stream. I think. I can’t be entirely sure.  But it does tend to drag from time to time. But the action remains top notch.

I do admit I’m intrigued to see how Nanoha handles the Tournament Fighter format going forward. Or at least I assume we’ll get a few more episodes out of the current arc before the bad guy attacks, we’ve all seen this before, right?

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Knights of Sidonia: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki

Ugh…where to begin with this one?  You’ll remember how in my recap of the original series I mentioned that the character stuff is the weakest aspect of this series?  Well they decided to make an entire season out of it.

Knights of Sidonia has become a harem series. And a bad one at that.  The glorious parts of Sidonia still pop up from time to time.  The Graviton Cannon scene was spectacular, suspenseful and full of that human hubris that so marked the morality of this series. The looks on the crew’s faces while Kobayashi stood behind her mask, only admiring how powerful she now was despite the abject horror of the weapon she had unleashed, and how everyone was too afraid to challenge her on the matter? Brilliantly directed, acted and blocked, it was a magnificent example of the kind of work that made this series stand out in the first place.

But NONE of that changes the fact that we are now spending 15 out of 22 minutes each episode exploring the day to day slice of life antics of teenagers supposedly on the brink of extinction.  Anyone who wants to make a defense of this series needs only look to the image of A GAUNA BLUSHING LIKE A TEENAGE GIRL.  REMEMBER THIS IMAGE. Any time you want to defend this series’ science fiction elements, remember this image: Brainless Harem flick.  Even a Gauna, the mighty, flesh devouring, apocalyptic Lovecraftian horror….blushes when the protagonist says something nice to her.

I won’t be dropping it, I have history with this series and still want to see how it ends. But if there’s a third series rest assured I won’t be covering it unless I feel it’s been too long since I ranted about harem bullshit.

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Kekkai Sensen

Still an enjoyable series, all told.  There isn’t a whole lot to say now that didn’t apply last month.  Stories are still solid, comedy is still strong, characters are still adorable.

And because the series is so episodic and doesn’t really try to character build or advance a plot, there isn’t a whole lot to criticize.  It has a narrow focus, and it performs that focus well.  I do wish we had more substance to what we were getting, but frankly they’re doing a good enough job at what they’re doing without needing to complicate it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Spring 2015: Part 1

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Yeah, I’m on break this season, but still want to maintain a sense of life on this blog.  I have been buried in my work and barely get to watch anime this season (serves me right for trying to do pulp serial stories xD), but I have (mostly) caught up on the first month of every series I think I’m going to want to sample this season. So here’s just a brief overview of what I’ve been watching, just to keep my opinion out there. Continue reading

Newspost: 9/20

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So, a few things we need to get to.

First: I will be moving (likely) next weekend or the week following. Until such time my schedule is full of cleaning and phone calls.  The #8 on Top Ten MIGHT make it out before I’m in Florida, but likely not til October, being realistic.

Which means! Autumn 2014 won’t start on the blog until after the move, as well.  Autumn schedule may be up soon (before 26th) but the reviews themselves won’t be until after I’m settled into the new place. Luckily there’s no shortage of things I really WANT to tackle this season. Summer ’14 has really been the weakest season in recent memory.

Of course this could all be scrapped if something bombs the move, as it’s expensive to move cross country and my family is dirt poor. >.> So there’s that.

Minor change: the drop-down menu will be updated with an archive section for seasons passed and the other categories on the blog, such as the stand alone reviews and Top Ten series.

New Project.

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So, an announcement.  Blade and Soul and Knights of Sidonia are on their way. I haven’t touched Brynhildr yet…ngh…

Obviously, summer did not go as planned.  But life is starting to cooperate again, so, I’ve decided to say “fuck Tokyo Ghoul” even though there are plenty of gender identity themes to talk about that I haven’t seen anywhere else…I might just make a special post addressing those topics as I see them instead of chugging through the backlog of episodics.  I dunno. At this point, the blog is like jazz, I’m gonna play it how I feel it.

To that end, in lieu of having episodic stuff, I’m going to tackle a project: Dataport Doll’s Top Ten Favorite Series.

Yep. That’s ten series recaps. I don’t expect to finish by the end of summer, but by the end of the year, I hope. 

In fact, the top spot would be going to a series that would be very appropriate for me to post on Valentine’s Day. So maybe then?

This is a complex project. I’m also toying with the idea of experimenting with character synopses similar to my first blog, of many many years ago. But I haven’t decided yet.  I’ve been wanting to branch out beyond the episodics for a while, now is the best time to test those boundaries.

Also, a little show is wrapping up soon that you’ve seen here before. Rest assured I will be logging my thoughts on this season, as well.

Wild Card Update

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Just a minor newspost. Slash, election.

I’ve been perusing the Summer releases and…and I am at my wits end.

It’s just all so…bad.  I can’t do it. I went into week 2 of Akame ga Kill ready to adopt it, but then VOOOM! crank the absurdity meter to 11!  I dashed into Blade Dance…for all of five minutes, I couldn’t stomach it. Arguably the WORST thing I’ve seen this year. And the setting is just not original for having one only-boy-in-a-girl’s-magic-school every season for the past 10 years. I might have been able to work on Momo Kyun Sword if I was much more familiar with the source mythos but I only have a vague passing knowledge that I can’t turn into comedy.

Nobunaga Concerto was…cute, but I don’t think I can do it an entire season. It’s just…more sameyness, another Jidai series, yay. Fake enthusiasm.

So, I leave it up to, the reader. Suggestions? Even if it’s something I badmouthed, give me an angle to approach it from and I’ll try! xD

I’d just feel really bad leaving the season at JUST Tokyo Ghoul, but that kind of seems how things are going to be right now.

The Mistress of Mean Returns!

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Yes! The rumors are true, Isuke is having my baby.

No, wait, not that…

I’m back, and admittedly that was longer than anticipated.

So! Some details/adjustments/adaptations must be made…

First, KILL la KILL will, indeed, be up tonight.  Just polishing it. What passes for polishing on this diary of a crazy person.

Second, my trip lasted longer than expected along with psychotic problems at home (such as losing power for a time, the departure of a roommate, little crises) that I’ve gotten further behind.  So here is the approach I’ll be taking to getting caught up.

I’m doing the important shows first, followed by the ones I feel are just treading water.  The order of priority is (roughly)

Akuma no Riddle– The more focused arc is still going, but the asinine elements have adapted to their new environment.

Knights of Sidonia- Still strong and lots of great sci-fi about the nature of existence and so forth. Flowery language.

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Black Bullet– Still choosing to be a show about loli fetish.

Blade and Soul-Ironically, there is way less to say about this show since it started developing its plot.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr-Ungh.

Everything below the line is optioned to be dropped, or rather, left incomplete.  I’m watching, but with the weeks passing by, I have so little say about these shows that, while it might be worth a chuckle, I am basically repeating myself with these shows.  Nothing stands out as “I must WRITE about this!” like say, Blade and Soul has been with certain episodes.

Particularly in Brynhildr’s case (but Black Bullet has been showing tendencies towards this) I’ve just been spouting the shit I’d normally save for the series recap. And, while it does keep us engaged week to week, it’s not actually profound or anything, let’s be honest, and can wait. So some series might end up with a few episodes missing or very-abridged word counts, but Akuma no Riddle and Sidonia will be completed (and hopefully caught up in time for the coming Thursday).

Newspost 5-29

Time for our quarterly check in!  Housekeeping and updates and nonsense.

First, and why this quarterly is so early, I will be leaving on a trip next week (next weekend, about the 8th, at the latest).  A family emergency has cropped up. So I am going to do my damndest to catch up the episodic reviews to be following the air times by hours so that when I DO leave, the impact to the schedule will be minimal. I may get some small chance to post an episode or two, but by and large this blog will be empty for a week.

Consolation prize, the long-delayed KILL la KILL recap will probably go up in this time, as the long ride home will give me nothing to do but write, so I’ll probably finish polishing that off and have it posted at my first chance.

Second, summer’s schedule will be up in the next few weeks, still waiting on final confirmation of the airing schedule before we commit, naturally.

What I can tell you about summer on DDA is that it is going to be laid back.  Between my injury a couple months ago, and a my upcoming trip (and the drama surrounding that), this season has been bonkers for the blog.  Since I am looking at the current schedule with a lack of enthusiasm, this seems like the best time to take it easy.  The heavy load for the blog is my own leash. Without it I might just stop posting altogether, that’s just my work ethic.  But I’ve been batting the idea around, and made the choice to finish this season out.  So, for this summer, I expect to do two, maybe three shows.

Three, I still hate Galilei Donna.

As always, many thanks to you guys for keeping the discussions going and to your parents for screwing you up enough to be entertained by a goth girl swearing at cartoons.

Wild Card Update

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Now that I’m down to two series recaps for Winter 14 (both the double-length Strike the Blood and KILL la KILL), and done with the special essay, it’s time to get back to the core of the blog, current runs. So we have three series I’m officially going to tackle, in addition to our current line up.  Those would be Knights of Sidonia, Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness) and Black Bullet. All for interesting reasons that I’ll get into in the respective introductions, but there you have it. Black Bullet and/or Brynhildr will be double features but Knights I have SO MUCH to get off my chest it will be proper episode by episode. It’s also going to be counting (well, half-counting) as my “comfort zone” series (yours truly not being a fan of mecha).

I had high hopes for WIXOSS but it just isn’t working out.  Based on these first three episodes…I see it not living up to its promotions until the VERY final conflict. Until then? It’s Fantasista Doll with more rules, a show that didn’t have a lot of redeeming qualities beyond a single character. I know I have my “Nanoha Rule”, but that’s a poor excuse to subject us to a show week after week on the off-chance it gets better.  Stick with a show, with that faint hope? Sure. But drag a new one into the line-up on top of these? Nuh uh. Not happening. The melodrama is not worth it.

Unless….unless…we get a HUGE tonal shift by week 5…then I might reconsider this decision. But any later than that and it will be too late. And even then, six shows is a lot.

Still the World is Beautiful…it’s gotten better but nothing for me to contribute there.

I tried Atlier abra cadabra but nothing stands out, and what does is obnoxious.  It feels too much like Galilei Donna in terms of “big ideas, small implementation”.  Slightly better executed, I’ll grant you that. But not by enough.

Kamigami no Asobi…it’s too much like Ouran, lots of self-parody and humor.  I get it. But it’s also one of those shows you watch around the TV with OTHER nerds and Statler and Waldorf the hell out of it to get the full experience.  Not something for me to do here on a blog.

So I’ll be working on these over the course of the weekend.  Hope to see you there!

“Saving” Anime

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So this emerges much later than I intended, but hey, I had things going on. So here it is, consider this prep for the KILL la KILL review (which is still a long ways away).

So I’ve avoided dragging this mess into the KILL la KILL reviews, because personally I feel it would just bog down the entirety of the series to prop it up with hype expectations (Indeed, it is now a meme to ask “How saved is anime?” whenever talking about KLK).  I had -personal- reasons for wanting to display it here, as I did for Galilei Donna and Nobunagun, which are weighed against those hopes of what I want to see, but I hope are more or less limited to the impact those hopes have on my enjoyment of a series.  To drag in the hype wars that communities make about certain shows, in my opinion, does them a disservice. I mean, they are communities of human beings, and humans are some stupid morons.

I don’t speak as a purist, either.  My fandom of personal hype is Kingdom Hearts, which I constantly feel rage and hatred for that basically has to be resolved through the medium of fanfiction to resolve my differences with the creative people behind said franchise.  I hold much lower opinions of the games than my siblings or friends because I personally feel invested and see things that feel completely obvious, that then get ignored. So my gloves aren’t clean in this.

But, in due course, I feel we have to address the greater issue behind the community hype of KILL la KILL.  To not address it would leave a key part of this show’s success out of the discussion. In part because it IS related to how the fan community receives the show, and in part, because it speaks to a broader question about anime in general, and the studios’ continued efforts to revive “what once was”.

So the topic at hand….did KILL la KILL “save” anime? Or, perhaps more generally, does any series hold up to saving anime?

Well let’s examine the premise first. And be reminded: These will mostly be -my- conclusions.  This is not a thesis so I can get my doctorate or anything like that.  Just as one can say the social contract of consumption from the 1980s has improved the economy, or destroyed it, based on the same pieces of evidence, no one’s really right here because it’s complicated, and no one person can hope to truly articulate the ENTIRETY of the issues.  This is just my hat. There are no rules. Only that you kneel while in my presence. Wait, what? Continue reading