Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: comedy
Every once in a while something strikes you like a bolt of lightning and elicits an emotional response that immediately compels you share the experience with others. Thank goodness we have the internet to release these kinds of urges expediently.
I started playing Katawa Shoujo a couple weeks ago and I’ve been very impressed with it so far (more on that some other time). Having completed Emi’s arc recently I decided to go again and pursue a different girl. This time I’m playing Shizune’s arc and this jab at the Republican party had me laughing so hard my sides hurt by the end of it. Looking back it probably shouldn’t have been that funny, but it really is just absolutely priceless. If you haven’t expanded the screenshot on this post go ahead and do so now before you continue reading. Think about it a little bit, too—especially if you haven’t played Katawa Shoujo.
It’s been said that good jokes shouldn’t need to be explained, but I don’t hold to common wisdom all the time. This will probably give away my political leanings but won’t contain any major spoilers for the game, so don’t worry about that if you’re thinking of playing it sometime.
Basically, Misha (the girl on the left) is your stereotypical ADD / airhead character that has a hard time understanding people (much like the Bush presidency). The saddest thing is that this comment by Hisao (Katawa Shoujo‘s protagonist) is really kind of an insult to Misha because her character is at least portrayed as being smarter than George and more kindhearted than Dick. Truthfully, I’d rather have had her bubbly, bouncy if sometimes thickheaded personality running the American government instead of dumb and dumber. We’d probably have gotten just as much done in those eight years and we could have had an anime character running the White House. =P
Is it really just a coincidence that Misha and Shizune are members of the student government…or am I stretching this analogy too far? What do you think of this buried joke about 2000s politics in the middle of a dating game? Is it too late for this kind of humor to be effectual or did Four Leaf Studios manage to get the punchline in just before the expiration date?
Initial impression – just…what? (2/10)
Spring 2012 (dropped at 1 of 12 episodes) (English title – Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos) (more info)
What do you get when you try to cross a romantic, moe comedy with Lovecraft? The jumbled mess that is Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, that’s what. Seriously, just what were they thinking when they came up with the setting for this show? Were they throwing darts at post-it notes or did they just spin a roulette wheel of possible themes? Perhaps it might have worked if the writers didn’t actually think that they could spin these two mismatched concepts into something with real-world ties—‘cause really, how can anyone think that turning Nyarlathotep into a female, alien-otaku is a good idea? It expends way too much energy trying to legitimize itself as something more than the sum of its subtractive parts and it just doesn’t work. Also, it makes a lot of obscure references to the Cthulhu mythos that only someone deeply familiar with Lovecraft’s work is likely to understand. It’s so full of itself that it can’t see how unfathomably thick it is. I actually find this kind of poorly constructed amalgam to be insulting in the way the viewers are just expected to roll with it and accept something so half-baked. It also doesn’t do a very good job constructing its more romantic side with the male lead seemingly having some kind of bipolar disorder. He knows that his new protector is a crazy, nutzo, wild girl, but one minute he’s dealing out punishment for her transgressions by stabbing her with a fork and the next he’s enraptured by her wiles. Is this proof of the concept that the hotter a girl is the crazier she’s allowed to be? Well whatever…I think I’ve adequately made my point that Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is not worth any more of my time.
Initial impression – I want to like it but…eh… (5/10)
Spring 2012 (dropped at 1 of 11 episodes) (title literal translation – Fishing Sphere) (more info)
There is a not-so-fine line between playfully random and simply making no sense at all and Tsuritama dances dangerously between the right and wrong sides of that divide. For one, it’s got a fairly wild cast including Yuki the overly self-conscious transfer student, Natsuki the local fishing prodigy, Haru the self-proclaimed alien who can talk with fish and an as-of-yet unnamed Indian character who works for the MIB and has a duck named Tapioca as his partner. It’s really all over the place with its themes, but I feel like praising it because it seems to be going beyond the inane and actually has some substance to the story. Additionally, unlike other recent anime with all-male casts (Kimi to Boku for example) at the very least it’s doing a better job of holding my attention. If nothing else it has a decidedly bright and cheerful art style that I really like. Perhaps I want to be overly generous because I’m a fisherman and I’ve sort of been hoping for a fishing anime to come along someday—blinding myself with optimism because of this anime’s premise. Sadly there’s certainly no shortage of incomprehensible choices the characters make—like Yuki’s grandmother allowing complete stranger Haru live with them in their new house. Just…c’mon…seriously? Are we really expected to just accept that without batting an eye? On this occasion I’m going with my better judgment and admitting that Tsuritama has some very conspicuous logical flaws that create a damaging discontinuity of tone that I don’t foresee the story being able to adequately recover from.
Initial impression – fuel for the moe inferno
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (English synonym – All Over the Place, title literal translation – Here and There) (more info)
If Lucky Star can be thought of as moe crack, then Acchi Kocchi is probably closer to moe sugar. It’s such a sweet anime that I’m sure most people are going to get a sour taste in their mouths unless they’ve properly conditioned themselves for this kind of style (as I have =P). I like how the two main characters Tsumiki and Io clearly care for each other with a slight, awkward honesty. While they are not in a serious relationship, unlike most anime romances they aren’t vehemently denying their love; instead going for a sort of soft consensus with their mutual feelings. It’s not an atypical friendship between hero and heroine and that simple novelty is more than enough to give this series a nice flair of originality. Integrating males into a moe series is also a rarity and when it is done it often isn’t done very well with focus always going to the girls and leaving the guys to the sidelines. But Acchi Kocchi gives both genders fairly equal measures of presence, which is inspiringly daring. It’s a kind of delightfulness that has gotten my moe passion burning brightly and I’m salivating at the thought of what the future holds.
Initial impression – an aura of fun
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (English title – Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) (more info)
Tasogare Otome has a really playful, refreshing attitude about how it tells its story. Yuuko, the ghost president of the Seikyou High School occult club, doesn’t remember everything about her past, but she’s determined to enjoy her unlife as much as possible nonetheless. That’s where Teiichi comes in. He’s a kindhearted young man, but perhaps a little over accommodating to Yuuko’s poltergeist pranks. He also has the …fortunate?… distinction of being Yuuko’s object of affection, but perhaps it was inevitable because he’s the only one who can touch her. This is a genius, nearly tangible way of creating empathy for Yuuko’s existence because of the very emotional response it generates to the concept of having only one person in the world you can be close to. Where Tasogare Otome’s plot goes from here is up in the air, but it has already demonstrated very clearly that the setting concept is solid with a great air of mystery and some really likeable characters. I particularly enjoyed how it started out showing everything from Momoe’s perspective to creatively establish that she can’t see or hear Yuuko and the naturalness of her reactions was made all the funnier when the scene was revisited from Teiichi’s point of view. If Tasogare Otome continues this way, I expect great things are to come.
Initial impression – surprisingly interesting and well-thought
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (more info)
I’m not sure what Sankarea is really about, but it has definitely caught my attention. I really like the unconventional way Chihiro Furuya thinks of zombies as misunderstood and feels a weird kind of passion for the undead. It’s an eccentric character trait and the fact that on some level he knows zombies can’t possibly exist gives him an interesting, internal conflict. Rea Sanka’s family problems then add an element of desperation that ties the two protagonists together in a kind of loose comradeship despite their very different backgrounds. The title animation would lead us to believe that this is some sort of zombie comedy-adventure, albeit more serious than the wacky Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? But as the first episode begins, I started to suspect the opening theme is intentionally being playfully facetious and this is going to be more of a fun, awkward romance story than anything to do with actual zombies. That assessment changes though, when Rea shuffles her way to Furuya’s side, dragging along her parts that aren’t supposed to be on the outside of your body. It’s such a shock after Sankarea’s not-too-dark beginning that I’ve been hooked and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Initial impression – a difficult premise (3/10)
Spring 2012 (more info)
Where Hetalia is the personification of countries and The Sacred Blacksmith is the personification of swords, Upotte!! is the personification of guns. I want to reinforce this idea that most of the characters in this series are literally guns in human form and their personality types are based on the features of their mechanical references. Being quite knowledgeable about firearms myself I can see what this anime is trying to do, but I’m pretty sure most of the jokes are going to fly right over the heads of most viewers. To compensate for this sort of murky comedy, Upotte!! depicts main character Funko as a sexually excited junior high girl who keeps fantasizing about being “handled,” by her new teacher who happens to be a gun expert. I’m not sure how to adequately convey this new concept of ecchi because I’ve never seen an anime that manages to keep its fetishes limited to its writing while visually maintaining its innocence. Upotte!! is trying to be unique and original, but maybe it’s just trying too hard because I can’t see how its concept is going to be anything more than incomprehensibly goofy.
Initial impression – I don’t follow (3/10)
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Summer-Colored Miracle) (more info)
Natsuiro Kiseki is yet another anime this spring season that can’t tell the viewers what it’s going to be about after the first episode. A group of junior high school girls with a nice assortment of personalities who have been friends since elementary school are having an overly-dramatic crisis because one of them is moving to Tokyo so they gather together to make a wish on a big rock and they all end up floating in the sky for a few minutes in a daze before they go back to their former personalities and their separate ways. Yeah, if it wasn’t for Natsuiro’s sharp, colorful art style I don’t think I could really find any redeeming features for this series’ opener because that’s one of the most disjointed sequences of events I’ve watched in a while. I want to feel for these characters, to get involved in helping them solve their problems and to hope they can stay friends, but I’m much too baffled by what I’ve seen to care. Mostly I’m having a hard time believing they were ever friends because despite being so close they don’t act very kindly toward one another. In order to make their relationships more convincing I think there should have been a flashback episode to get everyone introduced properly before jumping right into the main conflict. Whether Natsuiro is suffering from a rushed story, poor character concepts or simply a serious lack of focus, all I know is that I’m too confused to bother with it.
Initial impression – could go either way
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (more info)
Overall, Medaka Box has an endearing sincerity and is full of fun twists and turns with a good pace that keeps you on your toes. The over-enthusiastic attitude of Medaka reminds me very strongly of Haruhi Suzumiya and the half-hearted reluctance of Zenkichi makes me think of Kyon. Unfortunately, very little else in Medaka Box follows the smartly written formula of one of the wildest anime of all time—but expecting every show to live up to that high standard would be foolhardy at best, overbearing at worst. It’s really quite good and I hate to hold just one ecchi scene against it, but I feel that it’s so misplaced that it warrants reconsidering the overall motivation of this anime. Seeing busty Medaka in her underwear in the student council room with the lame excuse of justifying this fanservice moment by saying that it reinforces the validity of Medaka and Zenkichi’s relationship as childhood friends is just weak. After that pathetic attempt to appeal to the male fanbase, it completely ruined my mood and soured my interest in this series. But it is made by Gainax, so I think I’ll give it one last chance to redeem itself before I write it off as nothing more than an energetic but shallow anime.
Initial impression – more silliness
Spring 2012 (10 episodes) (title literal translation – Is this a Zombie? of the Dead) (more info)
And so begins Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? of the Dead, the second season of a series that I thought already did everything it needed to the first time. Ayumu, the zombie who is so alive you’d swear he’s just a normal human, is still living with a nice variety of three young women and his latent masou-shoujo powers continue to be sought after by Megalo monsters dressed in gakuran. What more could be added to this ecchi comedy series definitely hasn’t been made clear in the first episode—other than Ayumu is going to have a much harder time feigning normalcy than he was able to during the first season. Given the title animation, it looks like old enemy Kyoko is back for round two and she’s just as crazy as before. Other than that, it seems Kore wa Zombie 2 is going to just sort of do its own thing—following on in the first season’s wacky, ecchi formula of oddly combined character archetypes that manage to be cool in a very nonchalant manner. I’m not optimistic the second season will compare favorably with the first (few sequels do) but I’m ready to see where Ayumu’s new misadventures lead him.