Archive for the “blatant filler” Category

From episode 12.

Sometimes, when I find that I truly have no time to clear out my backlog, I like to watch a random scene from the latest episode of an anime I've been Meaning To Catch Up On, without subs, without sound, and ad-lib my own script.

I've not watched Angel Beats since episode 7 or so, and I have no idea what's going on here, but I don't think this is actually a scene where Neo Yuri confronts the Architect MakubeX to get him to stop stalking her.

There was probably no lengthy sequence where Yuri and MakubeX debate the meaning of life, the universe, and the Implosion Lens. Yuri may have demanded to know the identity of someone or something, perhaps even asking who was Number One, but I am uncertain of this. I allow that this may or may not have been the results of an experiment, although I am unsure if it is, in any way, serial.

Here, MakubeX may be introducing Yuri to a peculiar game, with a particularly unintuitive winning move.

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It's Saturday night, and my Internet is down. I don't think there's any way I can make the post schedule in time. To make things less complicated, I'll backdate this.

So it goes.

In any case, it's not like I have very much to post about; I appear to have reached a saturation point of some sort.

This isn't any sort of anime burnout, or even of blogging burnout. This is more or less some sort of commentary on how my time and energy is allocated among my interests, varied as they are. I've noticed how I seem to have a finite amount of enthusiasm for projects in general, and this must be carefully rationed out. If I become involved in something new, I become very involved in it, to the point of obsession… but something else must give.

I unplugged my PS2 sometime around the end of last year, mainly to clean up the place for the new year without worrying about tripping over wires or whatnot. I haven't plugged it back in yet; there just hasn't been a large enough chunk of uninterrupted time in my schedule to devote to playing any of the games. Put together, I have lots of free time, but I can't even use them, since they're broken up into tiny bitlets.

It is this sort of administrivia that irks me so about Real Life. When something that should take only a short amount of time has to include the downtime of staring blankly at nothing in particular when stuck in traffic, I begin to wonder why matter teleportation has not made greater strides.

And so I've watched maybe one or two episodes of a great many anime, before relegating them to the backlog. Do I want to continue watching anime and being an anime fan? Certainly. Do I want to continue blogging about anime? Indeed. My interest has not diminished in the least.

Do I actually have the time to watch anime and from there obtain the necessary seeds of inspiration for blogging? That, unfortunately is a mystery.

I'm going to sleep now. Hopefully tomorrow my Internet will be back, and I'll be able to post this.

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Doraemon scolds Makoto.

Seeing as I was easily disposed of in the first round of the Anime Blog Tournament, I accepted it as all being right and good with the natural order of things, and moved on.

However, I was reminded of this again with all the blogger commentary about the loss of Random Curiosity (note that it's often referred to as "Random Curiosity's Loss", rather than "Listless Ink's Win"), which apparently came with a lot of baggage that I had honestly not been aware of. It is like walking along a pristine garden path, noticing an interesting stone, lifting it up, and seeing things wriggling underneath.

It is not a good advertisement for anyone.

As someone who is mostly on the outside of all of this (I don't have time to hang out in #animeblogger like I used to), I explored the commentary with a sort of morbid fascination. A lot of the back-and-forth is apparently on a new cycle; the initial volleys had been fired long before, and the only evidence of their existence are their echoes, and the inference that something must have happened to keep these people tilting at each other like this.

Remember Koom Valley.

From what I can tell, the contest organizers… didn't like Random Curiosity? Liked Random Curiosity? Didn't like RC, but voted for RC? Didn't like RC, voted for RC, and then somehow fixed the match such that RC lost? I don't know anymore; denials and recriminations fly hard and fast, and I feel a little sorry for Listless Ink that their blog was caught up in all of this through no fault of their own.

I've never quite grasped the concept of the Anime Blog Tournament anyway, mainly because the organizers had better things to do (like, say, actually running the tournament) than answer my insipid questions. On the one hand, we're assured that no action on our parts need to be taken, which implies that the ABT organizers would deal with the advertising of their own tournament themselves, on top of the inevitable drama that accompanies a competition format.

And drama will exist, because this is the Internet, where everything posted becomes a sort of performance art. Quite often, the commentary on a given subject makes it obvious that the commenter is simply not interested in a meaningful discussion, from the way it is phrased. The comment is no longer a contribution to the discussion, but has turned into stand-up comedy. Hecklers do not wish to engage in a formal debate, I think.

Early on, I asked what would happen to the losers of each bracket, once the voting is over and the post falls off the main page. I still have not obtained a definite answer, but one thing which got tossed about was "you'll get more hits on your blog due to exposure". Let's see how this worked out:

Before the Anime Blog Tournament: About 500 to 700 hits daily, with spikes peaking over 1000 hits when someone links GamerS on a forum or something.

During the Anime Blog Tournament: About 600 to 700 hits daily. GamerS did not pick up any new viewers during this time.

After the Anime Blog Tournament: About 500 to 700 hits daily, with spikes peaking over 1000 hits when someone links GamerS on a forum or something.

How many of these are spambots will be an exercise left for the reader, because I haven't a clue how to find out.

An anecdote does not make a statistic, but lacking other sources, it is the only thing I can present. My blog was respectably unknown, remained respectably unknown during my time in the tournament, and will apparently remain respectably unknown until the end of time, or until the servers die, whichever comes first.

Presumably my life as an anime blogger will have the same general arc in the eyes of the general public: blog started, screencap comic irregularly updated, blog ended. So it goes.

While I'd appreciate a larger readership, what I really want is a larger commenter base. This tends to come with the larger readership anyway, in the sense that the more people there are watching a train wreck, the more likely there will be someone in there willing to wade in and help. And yet, this doesn't really answer for the other people just watching.

It is like performing your finest acts, displaying your masterpieces of creation, in front of a silent, faceless crowd. You cannot tell whether they are unmoving, or unmoved.

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Nanami Madobe.

While the details, limited as they are, may be found on my Animenauts post, I'm still greatly amused and thrilled by the fact that Nanami Madobe even exists. What was the marketing proposal for this like? Who came up with it? Did they get a well-deserved promotion, or at least a pay raise?

"Nanairo Generator" is quite catchy, although not especially innovative music-wise. Nana Mizuki is, as usual, solid as Nanamizuki Madobe, and the strong guitar riffs keep making me imagine Afterschool Tea Time as the band.

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From S2E01.

I should be working through my backlog of anime, which grows ever more logged with each passing week.

And yet, I end up watching and rewatching the first few minutes of the first episode of K-On season 2. Yui, coming early to school (due to mistaking the time, as she did on her very first day of school in season one), sets up her guitar and amp, and begins playing the second guitar part to "My Love is a Hotchkiss", which happens to be my absolute favourite K-On song.

Along the way, scenes of the other band members arriving at school, hearing the sound of Yui's guitar, and entering the music room just as Yui goes into Pete Townshend Strumming.

I've always said that K-On isn't about the music, but the band. Specifically, their friendships and relationships, of the band doing things together that may not be band-like, but certainly friend-like. The Light Music Club is an excuse for them to be together, but an important excuse: watching Yui play her guitar with such happiness, as she engages in an activity she thoroughly enjoys, is inspiring.

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From Season 2, Episode 8.
From Season 1, Episode 1.

I like the callback to the first episode of the first season.

(My seating arrangement theory holds.)

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Unnamed first-year fanclub members.

I like how the first-years are drawn. Not a like like, but more of an appreciation that the difference in style is there.

This can also be seen in episode five and episode one (which I could not be bothered to take a screenshot of), off the top of my head. Presumably this is an artistic decision applying to all instances where first-years appear, in order to differentiate them from the now-third-year Light Music Club members, and the slightly shorter second-years such as Azusa, Ui, and Jun.

Exactly how these first-years joined the Mio Akiyama Fanclub is left unexplained. Presumably there are copies of the recordings of the light music club's first performance with what is now euphemistically known as the Rice Bowl, and these copies are being distributed among the possible fanclub recruits via clammy hands and possibly unmarked brown paper bags.

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Misaki and Takumi discuss matters.

One aspect of Shoujo Manga (and their adapted Shoujo Anime) which has puzzled me ever since I started branching out into more shoujo manga (and thus have a larger reference pool) is the idea of the Jerk Guy.

To be fair, this seems to occur mainly in the romantic side of shoujo stories. To be even fairer, Takumi Usui in Kaichou wa Maid-sama is nowhere near the worst example of this sort of thing; in fact, he's comparatively pretty nice. This entire rambling mostly came about because Kaichou wa Maid-sama, being close to the sort of thing I'm talking about, reminded me of it. I can't even remember what the titles that better serve as examples would be, since I seldom follow them for more than a few pages, or about half an episode.

But there is this trend that has existed for as long as I've been reading shoujo stories, which is admittedly not that long (maybe four years?). For some reason, the male love interest will be… I hesitate to use the word "abusive", because that has Connotations, but it's along those lines. His teasing of the female lead often crosses the line into the realm of outright cruelty and sadism. He treats the female lead like dirt, or something less than dirt. He uses his physical superiority to push the female lead around, often into uncomfortable situations. He generally acts cold and aloof and uncaring.

And in many cases, the female lead just accepts this. Kaichou wa Maid-sama is a less objectionable variant: Misaki objects quite strenuously, and is more than a match for most of the other cast members, and Takumi never really does anything more than moderate teasing, mostly just to see Misaki's reactions. But quite often, the female lead of the shoujo story not only tolerates the abuse from the male love interest, she actually welcomes it.

I speculate that this is the shoujo version of the tsundere: the more tsun, the more valuable the dere. In this case, instead of something like a blush and a stuttered "I-it's not like I'm doing this for you!" of the typical female version, the male version has them turning away, walking off, and tossing back a mere "hmph, do what you want". There is even less explicit acceptance of the lead character, due to… I don't know. Maybe it's less cool for men to show their emotions.

Asking around revealed that a lot of the shoujo manga readers I speak to (or at least the women; for some reason guys are reluctant to admit to reading or watching shoujo stories) are also puzzled by this sort of thing. Another theory would be akin to the whole "taming of the shrew" business that is a possible (but not primary) appeal for the tsundere: here, the female reader places herself in the role of the female lead, and is successful at "taming" the "bad boy" male love interest.

Still, the accusatory finger of feminism is often pointed at moe harem comedy shows, which usually have a rather weaker male lead.

Perhaps this is because while the Jerk Guy in shoujo romance is abusive towards the female lead character, all this is happening in-universe. It's part of the story, even if the story presents such an unbalanced relationship as being not only viable, but desirable. In male-targeted harem comedy shows, however, the objectification is done through the fourth wall, aimed at the viewers, rather than character-to-character. Somehow, this makes things more objectionable.

Or something. I don't know; I can't even explain the phenomenon of the Jerk Guy, possibly due to my possession of a Y chromosome.

At least Kaichou wa Maid-sama is significantly more light-hearted, with more assertive and strong main characters. (We'll leave aside the Three Idiots for now.) Misaki is nowhere near a doormat, and Takumi is not a complete jerk. (Later in the manga we get hints about why he's not a complete jerk.) And it helps that I don't have to give out my CHECK!Points, since there's already a character who does that job for me.

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Rei objects.
Becky reacts.

Interesting things can be found when one tries to clear out the backlog of unwatched anime.

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Cover to the non-vocal OST.

For some reason the background chord progression in Professor Layton's theme reminds me of James Bond's.

This should probably not be all that surprising.

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