The Despair Continues Forever

Posted by Demian @ 5:32 pm, July 21st, 2008

Another season under my belt just in time for the special episodes being released with the manga. Then again, who knows when we’ll see those. I think I understand what I really enjoy about Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei now. It’s not the retro-avant garde art style courtesy of Shaft, though the animation certainly is nice. It’s not the great characters everywhere (Komori is the best hikikomori ever). It’s not even the insanely awesome OP’s. It’s that the show can bring up the most random topic or observation and I immediately think it’s true.

Take for instance the “maybe, maybe fraud” of episode ten. It’s all about how when one person says a ridiculous idea might work everyone else thinks it will too. As the episode went on I realized “hey this is completely true. I see this all the time!” SZS has the perfect way of satirizing society in the most insane ways possible, but no matter how weird it gets there’s still the ring to truth to it. Even the downright bizarre Zetsubou Fight segment from episode nine, the weirdest segment the show has ever done, has some depressing truth in it (which basically says we’re all going to kill each other).

SZS is probably the weirdest, most experimental anime to come out in years. I don’t know if it can be enjoyed by everybody. You’ll probably want to start with the first season, though, since technically I am reviewing the second season. For everybody else who already watched and enjoyed the first season, then what are you waiting for? Zoku Sayonara Sensei is even more spastic, ludicrous, and surreally great comedy that is unlike anything else being done today.

Magical Girls Have Left Me In Despair!

Posted by Demian @ 5:57 pm, July 18th, 2008

I actually stopped watching Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei at episode 5 back when it was airing (shame I know) due to - what else? - lack of subs. But now I’m finally getting back to it and finishing it off. Episode 7 really is the most experimental one so far, what with the channel changing segment and the differing animation styles at the end. The clay animation part was particularly surreal, even somewhat disturbingly so. Komori with an older brother was the best joke. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that much emotion from her voice. And like most random things featured in ZSZS, I kind of want a Lily Cure anime now.

Don’t Peek or You’ll See My SHINING FINGER!

Posted by Demian @ 7:42 pm, February 21st, 2008

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Parodies I like to see in Sayonara Zetsubou sensei: Ultraman, End of Eva, G Gundam, and Giant Robo. The first part of this episode is the best segment since the kamen rider parody of episode 1. So many great references that were actually funny, like Chiri’s random counting in german. That was a great recreation of Asuka’s awesome fight, without the berserk MAMA RAGE of course. The aliens were also fun, especially when they were obsessed with how…

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AMAZINGLY FREAKINGLY HAWT KOMORI IS! That’s just, the voice!…damn. Anyways, moving on. It’d be great to see a semi-serious mecha show from Shaft. If they can give me a serious melodrama like ef, then I know they could do a good robot story. Hell, this episode is plot enough. But you know what would be even better than a Shaft mecha show? More subs!

Kikuko Inoue is still 17 years old?!

Posted by Demian @ 8:43 pm, January 31st, 2008

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But she will always be Mercedes in my heart.

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And…yay for quirky post-modern humor? At least the radio drama was interesting. The duty segment was pretty good, especially the parts with Komori. She’s way too cute for a hikikomori, or does not facing the cruel light of the sun give her perfect skin? The over dramatic part was the best, though. The thing about the “conversation killers” was very true, and I love that kind of overly dramatic humor. It’s the only type of humor that I think anime as a medium really excels at. You can do surreal commentary in other mediums, but only with anime can you make jokes that ridiculously dramatic. That’s my two cents on the nature of Humor for today.

And I haven’t commented on the full OP yet either. The video has taken a step down in quality, replacing yuri bondage with Grey’s Anatomy (the medical textbook, not the ABC drama). That gets a wag of the finger from me. The Rumba song itself is good, except for the middle part in the full version where it’s very repetitive. The ending is worth getting through that, though. While Bure was a stronger song overall, the harder rock tone of Rumba has its own merits, too. And I still wish I could find a collection of Ootsuki Kenji’s work that doesn’t involve anime. The lack of Ootsuki Kenji’s music has left me in despair!

P.S. I wonder if it’s my duty as a blogger to include one “despair” line in every post on Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei?

Impressions: Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, They are My Noble Masters

Posted by Demian @ 9:53 pm, January 11th, 2008

You know any show that starts out with an eight minute parody of Kamen Rider has to be awesome, which Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is. If this episode is any indication than the second season will be even better than the first. The animation quality was excellent throughout and the episode was just plain hilarious. The minute Nami decided to commit suicide I knew Itoshiki would show up in all his suicidal glory, and he did and I laughed for five minutes after that. The new OP is also great and rivals BURE in musical excellence. Can’t wait for that single. I can’t wait to see what SZS comes up with next. Looks like a.f.k. will even sub in a timely manner this time!

They are My Noble Masters looks to be a surprisingly smart and sexy show. Despite the parallels that can be drawn between it and Hayate, it has a strong cast of funny characters and hot girls. I’m already in love with Shinra-sama. Miyu is also quite nice, despite being a loli and a freeter. But what I really have to comment on is the seiyuu cast. I’m rarely a man to notice seiyuu, but I was able to pick out a few favorites of mine here. Of course there’s Tomokazu Seki as Ren, but you also have Yousuke Akimoto as the Colonel, so it’s basically Domon vs. Master Asia all over again! I’m also glad Tomokazu Seki went for his insane Animate Tenchou voice. I’m just amazed by that guy’s range. Shizuka Itou is also great, with a mixture of Alice from Pumpkin Scissors and Eika from Sky Girls. I hope the show takes advantage of its strong characters and seiyuu to create a truly funny series.

Why the Apocalypse be Upon Us, or The End of Despair

Posted by Demian @ 9:09 pm, January 1st, 2008

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The final two episodes of Sayonara Zetsubuo sensei have finally been subbed. Sometimes I literally thought I wouldn’t be able to see the last episode till next summer, well after the second season. Both episodes were great and funny in that dark SZS way. Episode 11 was hilarious in how it focused on the “original way,” or how directors can justify making crappy work by saying it followed the original. You can almost hear Shinbo creating his own excuse with this episode, though I have no idea how close SZS followed the manga.

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In natural SZS fashion the segment jumped wildly from “original way” to all the different excuses people come up with: “recipe’s way,” the excuse of housewives, “queen’s way,” the excuse of sadomasochists, and the ultimate being “God’s way,” the excuse for everyone else. Chiri demanding Itoshiki to marry her or ignore her after he accidentally touched her breast was the comedic highpoint of the episode. So fitting for Chiri’s character to immediately think of marriage. The dramatic ending of Itoshiki being hit by a runaway streetcar was very unexpected and surprisingly serious.

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The next episode, however, took a complete 180, ignoring the end of episode 11 and focusing on two other students in the class. It’s almost like the staff got the word on the second season after 11 and had to wrap things up without killing Itoshiki. The first new character is Kaga Ai, a girl who thinks she is a bother to everyone and has an “imagined wrongdoings” complex. To me this segment was a scathing attack on the Japanese culture of over-politeness, but it was still pretty funny, especially when Ai and Itoshiki go to Okinawa.

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The second girl is Mitama Mayo, an evil girl who no one thinks is evil because she looks too obviously evil. As outlandish as the idea of an “excess of evidence” is, the show did make it seem true. And of course Mayo had to blow up Itoshiki’s house at the end just to show how evil she is.

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Sayonara Zetsubuo sensei has been a great show so far. It has the quirkiest characters ever made and the most unique art style of the year. It wasn’t always funny and sometimes could be downright incomprehensible, but its brand of dark humor and social criticism is rarely seen in anime and has an amazing freshness to it after watching some of the bland shows made these days. SZS also had the best OP of the year done by Ootsuki Kenji. Ah, I remember the many months spent waiting for that single. Hopefully he’ll be doing the OP for season two also. Of course, this isn’t actually the end of SZS with Zoku starting in a couple weeks. Let’s just hope the sub situation will be better with this one. Probably not.

My Picks of Anime ‘07

Posted by Demian @ 2:31 pm, December 30th, 2007

Best ” OVA ” - ARIA the Arietta

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Ok, actually ARIA the Arietta was probably the only OVA from this year I saw, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Like everything about ARIA, it was great; calming, funny, whimsical, and slightly melancholic. Fortunately the OVA did not signal the end of the great ARIA franchise, but as a detour on towards better things. I’m sure almost everyone will be checking out ORIGINATION in the coming weeks.

Best ” OVA that didn’t come out this year but I finally saw ” - Giant Robo

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Now tell me that’s not awesome?

Best ” Artsy Show ” - Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei

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It was a toss up between Sayonara Zetsubuo-sensei and ef ~ a tale of memories ~ for this category, but ultimately I enjoyed SZS’s stylistic flair more. From the orgasmically surreal OP (BURE BURE BURE BURE) to the several design quirks that characterize Akiyuki Shinbo’s work, it is impossible to say SZS didn’t have style. The style could either enhance a joke to something truly hilarious, make an incromphrensible joke even more cryptic, or stand alone in silent beauty. I’m looking forward to see what the second season will showcase in its artistic melting pot, but as in SZS tradition I have to ask: SUBS?!

Best ” I couldn’t believe it could turn out this bad show ” - Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

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It’s amazing to see how StrikerS went from the darling anime of the year to being derided by almost everyone, even hardcore fans. I tried to put up with it, but there were just too many flaws and I dropped it shortly after Vivio was introduced. The endless training, introduction of too many characters, poor villians, shoddy animation, bad pacing, Vivio, disappearance of old characters we loved; all a perfect mixture of fail. The only good things to come out of StrikerS were Subaru and Teana; Subaru’s a great character all around who deserves a better show, and Teana just because I think her design is sexy. They do make one hell of a lesbian couple, another thing that couldn’t save StrikerS.

Best ” Show that’s halfway finished ” - Code Geass

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Great plot, great action, great characters, great pizza, great ass. I look forward to more in the spring.

Best ” Honi Honi ” - Potemayo

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I had to give Potemayo something. There is not a more sugary sweet, diabetes inducing moeblob in all of anime. The show never took itself seriously and had fun with its characters, creating a great comedy show all around. Also desperately in need of a second season.

Best ” Romance Show ” - Genshiken 2

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I’m not much of a romance guy. Too much romance in anime seems forced and unnatural to me, and often times it is, but Genshiken 2 got romance right. Genshiken had the benefit of being a slice-of-life/romance show, so it never had to rely on romantic intrigues to carry the story but could also insert gundam references. The natural love between Ohno and Tanaka and Sasahara and Ogiue grew throughout the series, and in the case of the later couple hasn’t even come to fruition yet. Hopefully we’ll get some OVA’s to finish up that story.

Best ” Other show made by SHAFT this year ” - Hidamari Sketch

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For that other awesome show made this year by SHAFT. Also can’t wait for the second season airing soon.

Best ” Show of the Year ” - Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann

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Could there be anything else but Gurren-Lagann for best show of the year? Everything about it is perfect. Stellar animation, manly GAR characters, and an epic plot that encompasses the entire universe. It had a couple problems in pacing halfway through, but nothing could stop this juggernaut from reaching the top. The spirit of this show - its characters, its emotions, and its many great monologues - will definitely stay with me in the coming year.

On a personal note, it’s been a pretty good year overall. The blog reached one year old. Readership increased dramatically, declined dramatically, and finally leveled of. My fanboyism of Type-moon reached new heights with the Fate/stay Night patch, but due to the lack of any new games has settled down to a kind of pessimistic cynicism. My fanboyism in touhou was similar, with much reading of doujinshi and playing of games at the beginning of the year leading to me not even thinking about touhou now. Too much too fast I guess. I discovered a love for mecha and tokusatsu which does continue now and have been watching as much as I can in those areas, which has definitely been reflected in the blog. And I got a cute girlfriend who I love, which was the best part of the year. And she has seen the blog and agrees: otaku make great boyfriends.

Finally, in mimicry of what one of my favorite bloggers does, let’s look at which post each month you readers most commented on and, I assume, liked.

January - Series Review: Black Lagoon Second Barrage - several people seemed to agree with me on how great this anime was. A third season is still sorely missed.

February - Saigar Update: Quarterfinals Match 3 aka. Good Night Sweet Prince - Archer’s lost in Saigar prompts a discussion on what the hell GAR is.

March - Greatest Haruhi Pic Evar - still rings true.

April - I have found it! - video of the first live action attempt at Lucky Star dance. Not to be viewed by the faint of heart.

May - Claymore Manga: Awesome, Claymore Anime: Meh - everyone agrees the girls of Claymore are moe.

June - Game Review: Fate/stay Night - FATE Route - still waiting for UBW patch.

July - Impressions: Sayonara Zetsubuo Sensei - the beginning of the madness.

August - One Year Anniversary Extravaganza - looking back, it wasn’t that big of an extravaganza.

September - Final Thoughts on Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann - the end of a legend.

October - Tomoya’s Dating a Retarded Person - more people really need to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

November - Prelude to the Ultimate Battle of Manliness V.2 - it’s on in a couple of days.

December - I Hate Keyches - I love inventing new words.

Well, that’s it for 2007. Happy new year everyone and I’ll see you in 2008!