Anime Preview

Winter 2012 Anime Season: Back in the Saddle!?

I’ve taken some time out of my busy Skyrim playing schedule to watch a bunch of the 2012 Winter anime. So far I’ve seen High School DxD, Moretsu Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Papa no blah blah blah Ikinasai, Recorder and Little Kid, Kill Me Baby and Amagami SS+. Oh, and the one about the round cat.

The last anime I watched in its entirety was Madoka, which I thought was pretty good, despite the annoying finish. I’d like to watch more new anime, but I also don’t want to get suckered into watching bad shows. If anyone has suggestions on last season’s series that were good, lemme know.

Here’s some random thoughts on this season’s anime thus far:

High School DxD

Sorry girls, but you're all way too ugly.

Did the censorship practices for anime change severely since the last time I watched? Back in my day we’d see steam/lens flares and we’d like it! While there is something to be said for holding things back, I think probably the only reason anyone is watching this show past episode 1 is the fanservice. I thought the animation was pretty low quality, but you can always compensate with nips.

Moretsu Pirates

My Mother the Pirate

Of all the shows I’ve watched thus far, Moretsu Pirates has some potential. I haven’t watched the second episode yet, but I have a feeling this could be interesting enough to keep my attention. The animation is solid and there’s a “cool meganekko” which can’t hurt. Also, hot pirate mom.

I was really puzzled by this one. Then I realized it was a sequel to Bakemonogatari. I figured it started “in medias res” so it should be slightly confusing. I didn’t realize I was watching it “in medias in medias res.” INCEPTION.

Just Do What Papa Says!

Where's Chris Hansen when you need him?

At first I thought this was a heartwarming anime about a college student finding his true self, and a couple trying to find family with their mixed parent kids. Then the college student got babysitting duties for his unrelated nieces who want to bone him. Wah wah. While I like some characters (the big boobed senpai who seems to be some kind of performance artist), most of them are pretty messed up. This show could be interesting to watch for its awkwardness, but part of me really doesn’t want this thing on my hard drive at all.

Kill Me Baby

Aside from having the worst OP in the history of OPs, Kill Me Baby is actually pretty good. I lol’ed at the part where dumb girl eats the crepe instead of distracting the bear with it. Also, the Engrish “Kirru me, bebe” is pretty hilarious. I think this show could get old fast, given the low number of characters, but whatever. Maybe I’ll watch it until it bores me.

Amagami SS Plus

Cut and paste various scenes to get the hidden Miyu arc!

Amagami was a rare anime that I actually finished watching, so it totally makes sense for me to watch this followup. I was hoping they’d do something crazy like have Junichi (is that his name?) date ALL of the girls at once and come up with the compromise that they all need him, and he needs all of them. Instead they’re just starting where they left off in each girl’s arc. So far I watched the first two episodes. It’s nice to see the characters in a somewhat stable relationship instead of fumbling around and having misunderstandings all the time. There isn’t much tension to provide though, since we already know they live happily ever after. Hopefully this means they will just load up on Morishima fanservice.

Round Cat is Round

Girls love round cats

A drunken office lady finds a round cat. That’s about it. It’s only 3 minutes, so why not watch?

Recorder and Lando Calrissian

This show is only 3 minutes long as well. But it’s also stupid as hell and I’m not going to watch it.

So that’s it for my current season views. If you have any suggestions, please hit me up in the comments!

Anime Episodic

Madoka Magica 10: Groundhog Day

RIP Mami... again

After last week’s sorta meh episode, we get another Madoka of awesomeness! This time, we get to see how Homura came to be a mahou shoujo. Apparently in the original timeline, Mami and Madoka became partners (since Homura wasn’t there to delay Madoka becoming a Meguka, which probably led to a Madoka/Mami assist on the candy monster). They saved Homura and she became their magical girl toadie.

The original Walpurgis Night giant witch thing ended up killing Mami and Madoka and Homura made a contract to go back in time to make things right, just like in Quantum Leap! Homura then goes through a series of resets, trying to save her friend Madoka from what seems like the inevitable: becoming a witch and possibly destroying the Earth!

Homura 1.0

It’s really cool to see how Homura used to be the most awkward of everyone, and conversely, Madoka seemed the coolest. Through perhaps years of battling witches, Homura mastered the art of using concealed weapons (her shield is a bag of holding?) to become the most badass magical girl ever. A magical girl who uses guns? Fuck yeah! And man, does she clean up well (though I kinda like her with twintails and glasses…)!

This seems to happen a lot.

It was interesting to see the reactions of the characters in other situations too, like when Sayaka the witch was defeated and Mami went all apeshit, killing all the other magical girls so they wouldn’t turn into witches themselves. I was kinda hoping for a Kyubei death montage, sort of like Bill Murray’s montage of suicides in Groundhog Day.

Cool magical girls don't look at explosions

Homura’s actions finally make sense now, given the fact that she’s lost her friends multiple times. She calls Madoka by her first name because they’re BFF and acts cool because Madoka said she should. Basically everything she does is for Madoka, her first friend. She just has to convince her not to make a contract. It doesn’t seem too difficult, given that she could just sit them down with Kyubei and have him explain the contract legalese at length? Kyubei really doesn’t seem to be averse to telling the truth; he just leaves a lot out.

The series looks like it’s leading to a pretty finale. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Madoka Magica needs more yuri moments like this!

Anime Episodic

Madoka Magica 8: Tastes Like Kyubei!

OMG. This was a great episode of Madoka Magica. Basically all of the speculation of the previous 7 episodes led up to the events of this one. If you don’t want to be spoiled, you should probably stop reading.

First off, Kyubei is soooo evil! Or at the very least, very manipulative. It all makes sense now! Kyubei turns girls into witches, the girls hunt the witches and get energy but eventually lose it and become witches themselves. The witches kill humans to get energy and are killed by the magical girls. Kyubei profits!! Also, Kyubei eats his own corpse, probably to conserve energy. Just like a cat!

If you were a Kyubei and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

Next, it seems Homura really is a time traveler! Or maybe a dimensional traveler. She finally stops pretending to be cool and actually pleads with Madoka to take better care of herself (e.g. stop trying to become Meguca). It’s obvious she knows what’s going to happen. She kinda lazily tried to save Sayaka but knew it was useless (Sayaka totally saw through her poker face). Also, the shotgun blast to Kyubei was sweet, but it’s too bad his death wasn’t permanent like Mami’s was.

Of course Sayaka goes off the deep end and lets her soul gem thingy get too tainted and becomes a witch. Watching this series keeps reminding me of that quote from The Dark Knight: “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

I really like Homura as a character as things are revealed. She knew that trying to save Mami was impossible, though she wanted to anyway. She knew Sayaka was going to turn into a witch the whole time, yet she couldn’t do anything to stop that either. After being aloof stopped working, she finally broke down and pleaded with Madoka. There’s a lot to her character that’s not stated.

I thought of a good way to end the show. Madoka can just make her wish that Kyubei stop making girls into magical girls! Problem solved. It probably won’t be that simple though. More realistically, Madoka will probably become a magical girl and become God. Then she might make the world explode or something. Who knows? She’s like the Luke Skywalker of this show.

Alright, that’s enough speculation. I just gotta wait until the next episode. Apparently this show is only 12 episodes long, so who knows if Madoka will even get to become a magical girl?

Anime Episodic

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Episode 7

Just finished watching the latest Madoka Magica. The series has definitely outdone my expectations (which were kind of low to begin with). This was a pretty good episode for character development. We get to learn why the spear girl is a loner and get confirmation that wishes really end up backfiring (or just evening things out).

The whole apple biting thing kinda reminded me of Iron Chef’s Takeshi Kaga:

In other news, it looks like Sayaka is mega pissed that she’s a zombie and can’t really be with her boyfriend. I wonder if being a shell of a human prevents her from that much or if she’s just being dramatic. By the end of the episode it’s apparent that she’s flipped and is headed toward the dark side pretty quickly.

Oh, and it’s episode 7 and Madoka is not Magica yet. How many episodes is this show, anyway? If it’s 12 or 13 then I feel kind of cheated. The beginning credits sequence is so not canon now, what with Mami dead and the show definitely not as lighthearted as it was made out to be. It’s kinda funny that they haven’t changed the OP or anything to match the show’s darkness. The ED works for that though, I guess.

It’s pretty late at night so this blog post most likely is rambling, but I figured I’d just pound it out before I forget!

Anime Episodic

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica 5


Alrighty, so that Sayaka girl made a wish and went through the magical girl commencement ceremony of a quick grope from Kyubey. Then she seems to act all high and mighty because her boyfriend got cured (but why not just ask for the whole shebang? Hello, he might want legs!) and she’s all super powerful and stuff. She really seems to be gloating at Madoka, so I hope she gets her downfall pretty soon.

I wish for my boyfriend to be able to play Ave Maria with or without actually playing his violin!

Oh, and there’s a new magical girl in town who wants to start stuff and attacks Sayaka. She looks to be the type to make a whole bunch of grief seeds and then quit that crazy scene. She points out that magical girls need grief seeds, which are made of witches, which are made of familiars, which are made of human (and kitten) tears. So basically magical girls are worse than your gas guzzling Hummer (which are fueled directly from kitten tears).

Almost NSFW

It feels like the animation budget went downhill on this episode. Was it just me or did they reuse an attack animation twice in the same episode? The ending was pretty sweet though, with a possible three-way magical girl fight (three girls one Kyubey?)!

And here’s my random conspiracy theory: Homura is actually Mami back from the dead (and the future) as Madoka’s wish to become a magical girl is to bring her back. Crazy? Yes. But stranger things have happened on Lost!


Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Episode 3

Best Friends Forever (for about 3 more minutes)

I am back on the anime bandwagon! Everyone was talkin’ bout this Madoka show, so I’ve been watching it. I read that Episode 3 had a pretty big spoiler, but I didn’t actually read it. I have a feeling that knowing that there was a spoiler without actually knowing it made this episode more interesting. I finally predicted it a few minutes before it actually happened.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka seems like a pretty complicated magical girl anime. It’s not afraid to be dark and show the consequences of actually fighting evil (like uh, succumbing to it). This episode seals the deal by killing off Mami, the mentor figure of Madoka and Sayaka. I imagine the rest of the series will be about the two girls getting tricked into signing a Faustian contract, and coming to terms with the fact that they’re basically going to be enslaved (or at least stuck in indentured servitude) for the rest of their lives.

Why is rabbit/cat thing still smiling?

Random Thoughts:

I guess that’s why you don’t see a lot of magical girls grown up. The lifespan of a good magical girl must be pretty short.

Madoka doesn’t really have the most potential that Kyubei’s ever seen. He just tells that to all his ladies.

I feel like Mami could have survived if she had taken the witch a little more seriously and stopped showboating all over the place. We get it, your gun skills are cool. Just make sure to get the job done. I bet you were gonna try and drink tea after killing the witch, too. Serves you right!

Maybe Mami died on purpose, kinda like Obi-Wan when he turned into a force ghost! Except she’s sorta totally dead, so probably not.

If the Kyubey thing is handing out Magical Girl cards, then who is handing out Witch cards? If it’s the same guy then he should seriously consider working for the government. Or BP. Genius. And doesn’t it seem a bit coercive that he signed up Mami while she was dying? I think Kyubey might win best evil/cute thing of the season with his track record.

Anime Review

Amagami SS – Anime Review

Oh, knee knee.

I did a marathon sprint with Amagami SS and finished the whole series last night. I thought I should write up my thoughts about the show while it’s still fresh in my head.

Amagami SS is a typical bishojou game to anime conversion in many ways, but in others it is quite unique. Most galge conversions (at least all that I’ve seen) only cover one girl’s arc (and maybe a second girl’s in an OVA). Or they take some time off the main route to focus on another girl for maybe 3-4 episodes. Amagami SS takes the unusual approach of having a 4 episode arc for a girl in its entirety, then doing a reset so Junichi can get with another girl.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was narcoleptic like me?

I think this forces the anime to be a little bit more self aware as it needs to concede to the fact that alternate realities are going to pop up. In a pseudo Back to the Future / Groundhog Day way, we see how Junichi’s actions (and inactions) affect those around him. In a way, it’s really sad to see alternate futures, because Junichi seems a pretty integral part of some of the girls’ lives.

Too soon?

For example, Junichi coaches Sae from being painfully shy to becoming a waitress at a popular cafe. In another arc, Junichi tutors Ai so she can avoid after school classes and remain on the swim team. In Rihoko’s arc, Junichi saves the Tea Club. In the final arc, Junichi exposes Tsukasa so she can be confident revealing her true self to others. This only happens in each girl’s respective arc, though. I think the series tried to mitigate this by showing scenes where the other girls were obviously not lonely, but I kind of wish they had played up the essentialness of Junichi. “Oh, you didn’t hear? Ai dropped out of school and became a prostitute.”

I saw you with five other girls!

Another thing that bothered me was how Junichi could be right for all of those girls. Obviously this guy is a man whore himself. I never noticed him saying anything like, “you’re the only one for me,” since that would have set off the fourth wall alarm.

Junichi and... Umehara!?

The final episode pokes fun at the causality of Junichi daing all the girls by having a final girl who meddles with his relationships. He just goes from Morishima to Kaoru to Sae to Ai to Rihoko to Tsukasa, just like the series progressed!

All analysis aside, I really enjoyed Amagami SS. There were a slow arcs, but towards the end I couldn’t stop watching. The Tsukasa arc finally brought what the series what it needed all along: some actual drama. There was finally a character who you didn’t quite understand, who had surprisingly more to her than first glance, and who might’ve been a bit dangerous.

I suppose it was the series quick 4 episode arcs that enabled me to finish, but I also enjoyed the characters and the humor in the how. The arcs themselves could have been done better. There were too many untied loose ends, like Ai’s little brother and Tsukasa’s book (and secret?). Overall, it was a fun show that was easy to take in small chunks and had a really interesting few final episodes. These days I hardly finish any anime, so it’s a pretty good indicator that I got all the way through this one.

Anime Episodic

Amagami SS 12 – Boring Girl Arc

I’ve been working a bit on Anime Nano, which has led me to watch some more anime. I found that Amagami SS was the easiest thing to pick up again since it comes in nice 4 episode chunks of resolution. Even though I thought that the Morishima arc was kind of weird (though also the best at this point) and the Kaoru one was awkward, I figured there’d be a better arc coming up.

This arc features Sae, the shy girl who’s friends with Miya, Junichi’s sister. Sae (which even rhymes with “shy!”) needs help being more assertive so she can grow up to work in food service for the rest of her life. For reasons even Junichi doesn’t understand, he helps her by becoming her personal life coach. After a lot of training and some accidental groping and leering, they both come to the conclusion that they are in like with each other. Pretty much zero conflict, unless you count Junichi becoming a lobotomy patient and not realizing that he liked Sae until close to the last episode…

I suppose that what I like about Amagami SS is that they’re keeping things fresh with their show direction. This one had an omniscient narrator chipping in about the characters’ secret intentions. There are parts that are genuinely funny, like when Miya suggests that Sae try out for the Santa Costume Contest and the music stops as everyone realizes what a trainwreck it would be.

Finally, I will say that if they made a spinoff of Amagaii SS that only featured Morishima and Hibiki, doing what they do off screen, I would watch every single episode of it (and maybe make Morishima wear glasses or something)!

Also, I am really just waiting it out for the fat girl arc, as I predict it will be the best.

Anime Visual Novel

Nimble Strong: Anime-ish iPhone Game Review

An iPhone developer reached out to me about a game he just released. As an iPhone dev myself, I felt I should give the game a try and also get something to stick on my blog. So here’s a game review!

Nimble Strong is an anime themed drink mixing game. Yes, you read that correctly. The combo isn’t really that unheard of. Wasn’t there a bartender anime that came out a while ago? Anyway, you take the role of a complete bar noob. Part of the game is like a visual novel where you talk with customers and choose from one of two snarky responses. The game part of the game is where you mix drinks and are graded accordingly. There’s also a drink recipe thing that you can unlock with your tip money and a “survival” mode.

I could do without the visual novel part of the game myself. I think if the art had been better, I may have been more interested in the characters. The drink mixing part of the game is actually pretty fun. You hold down on a glass to add ingredients. Ice first, then liquor, then sweet stuff. You can also add a garnish if you want. The game makes use of some of the iPhone’s gimmicky features (you shake the phone to shake a martini).

The game grades you based on how accurate and fast you are with the drink. I think the level of tip that you get depends on how well you do. If you over pour or under pour, you’ll lose points. I would go on about the main mode, but I didn’t finish. I got to a place in the game where I’m supposed to make a Piña Colada for some robotic chick. The thing is she never accepts my drink. So either there is a bug in my version of the game or I’m horrible at Piña Coladas…

If you wanted a drink recipe app or wanted to learn more about mixology, I guess this game is of some use to you. I personally got kind of tired of mixing the drinks, because there wasn’t much variety besides pouring ice, and then liquids. It’s kind of a boring job if you don’t get to actually get real tips and mess with actual people. At least Burger Time had you running away from burger ingredients!

Also, I could never figure out why the game is called “Nimble Strong.” Because you need to be nimble, yet strong? Or is it like Strong Bad?

For $.99 I could definitely recommend this game. But for the $5 it’s at right now, you’d have to evaluate for yourself whether it’s worth it for a buggy game. Hopefully there’ll be a fix for whatever’s making my Pina Coladas go bad… There’s a light version of the game out as well, in case you want to try it first. Perhaps it’ll go on sale at some point.

Disclosure: Adam, the guy behind the game, sent me a promo code for a free copy of the game to review it. He didn’t offer me any money or drinks for a review, however 🙂

Edit: Adam wrote in to say:

I just want to point out that the Pina Colada bug isn’t actually a bug, it’s more of just a typo. In the recipe book for the game we just forgot to put ‘shaken’ – but since the mixing glass appears the majority of players are used to shaking drinks with mixing glasses and juices inside anyway (that it’s shaken is also mentioned in the dialogue prior to the drink)

It’ll definitely be fixed, but I don’t think this qualifies the whole game as being ‘buggy’ – if you could write a small update I’d really appreciate it 🙂

I think at that point in the game I was kind of running on autopilot (it was kinda late) and didn’t notice the glasses, reference, etc. I still think this qualifies as a bug, however, as the recipe book states what is necessary to “beat” the stage and in this case, it is wrong. As for whether the whole game is buggy, no, it is not, but the fact that I couldn’t progress means it was a pri 0 bug as far as I am concerned.

It’s good to see that it’ll be fixed. I still consider it a great $1 or $2 app, but I don’t see enough to warrant the current $5 price point. (For $1, Angry Birds is the shiznit!)

Anime Episodic

Amagami SS #2: I’d Like You To Let Me Like You

So after last week’s rejection, Junichi falls into a depression. But it doesn’t last long because Morishima is back to tease him some more. Junichi thinks it’ll be mega awkward talking to her, but it turns out she doesn’t really even care that she rejected him. So he’s super happy to just go back to normal.

Friend Zone Handshake Agreement

Later, Junichi and his buddy meet up with Morishima and her… caretaker? Her pal seems more like a mother or something, keeping her out of trouble. Junichi’s friend does a horrible job as wingman as they walk home from school together. He should’ve neutralized the threat and left Morishima and Junichi alone together…

Oh god Morishima is hot

After a note throwing fight with the big hair girl, Junichi is stuck with cleanup duty, but is quickly convinced by Morishima to help her find a swimsuit. Then we get to meet the hot swim team frosh. Oh, and then they go to the library so Morishima can talk with his debu osananajimi. Personally, I think she could be drinking whole milk if she wanted to.

Not gonna buy you a diamond ring, that kinda gift don't mean anything

Back at the library, Morishima falls asleep, so like a good tool, Junichi waits for her to wake up, then confesses again! Protip: wait at least another day to confess to the girl who just rejected you. Morishima then agrees that it’s okay for Junichi to like her. WTF? She gives him a kiss on the forehead, which is like the kiss of death that is banishing Junichi to the friend zone forever. Only he doesn’t realize it yet. I kinda feel bad for him.

Beware the kiss of relationship death


I like that Morishima lists the traits she finds appealing in men, and none of them describe Junichi at all.

If Morishima keeps up using random English, she could be the next TK.

Junichi needs to back off a bit, since he’s basically being a tool to Morishima. He should hit on his fat friend a little to make her jealous, then break it off and rebound onto Morishima.

I actually sorta feel like I could relate to this Junichi guy, but I also feel he’s doing pretty badly. This is probably why Amagami SS is so entertaining for me to watch. It’s like watching a train wreck, but one that resets and starts over and over again!