highschool of the dead

Certainly one of the more daring and vicious animes to come out in recent times is “High School of the Dead”. Now, this is certainly not a genre which appeals to me. I mean, it’s:

1)      Violent
2)      Zombie
3)      Horror

OK, it’s not as bad as giant fighting robots, but I normally do not seek it out. There is something about gore that turns me away, and horror gore is along the lines of the more the gore, the show will flow. But there was a lot of buzz about it, so I thought that I should at least know what’s going on so I don’t sound like a total clot head.

It tells the story of Takashi Komuro atFujimiHigh School. A bit of a slacker, he is standing on a stairwell landing, looking at the closed gates of the school when some man staggers up to the gates and demands entry. The school administrators try to deal with the man, but he bites the administrator and becomes infected.

This is where it gets weird for me. I mean, the infection spreads through the school in a matter of minutes and we have all kinds of bloodshed and death and unpleasantness. You thought fighting for the last curry bread at lunch was a battle, this is even worse.

A few students manage to escape the attack and flee the school, but they soon discover that the streets are overrun with these creatures. The decision is to try and get home to see how the parents are all doing, but it is a difficult task, made worse by blind panic and dissention within the group. Adding to that is everyone in the group represents a faction.Continue reading

the melancholy of harui suzumiya season 2For those of us who saw the first season of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, it was a challenge on many fronts. Pulling a page from the 60s Sci-Fi show, “The Prisoner”, it was shown in an order that seemed out of place, as though we were living the life that Haruhi wanted us to live and not getting that straight-forward narrative. It wasn’t until it came out on DVD that you could see it in proper episode order and not Kyon Order or Haruhi Order (both of which are non-linear and do not agree with each other on the order).

When you finally were able to see the show ‘properly’, it made for intriguing watching. I mean, a girl who is a God and does not even know it? Then, in an attempt to keep her focused and channeled and happy, we send along three aliens to keep things moving along so the entire universe is safe? Time jumping, inter-dimensional rifts, girls in bunny suits, how can you keep up with it all?

I certainly found it both an enjoyable and thoughtful series. So, when I heard that Season Two was available on DVD, I did something I rarely do: a blind buy. Without knowing anything about it (and on such a deal as well), I grabbed it. Perhaps I should have waited.

I would divide the show’s second season into three distinct units: the first episode, the Endless Eight and the Movie Madness. It is, at best, an experimental season and it has to go back to the drawing board. Much like the ending of every episode of “Excel Saga”: “Endless Eight Experiment…Failed!”

The initial episode is fine, setting things up for the SOS Brigade in the time ahead. It is done quite well, but in no way prepares you for the Endless Eight.

What you learn from that arc is that Haruhi is reliving the same two weeks over and over (the last two weeks before the end of summer vacation), looking for something she cannot find. By the time it all ends, it has taken around 600 years to get this taken care of, as it resets and it is, more or less, relived just as it was the last time it was experienced. Continue reading

sekirei heroines

After watching anime for some time, I realized that there needs to be some kind of rating system to determine the amount of ecchi content in any given show. I would like to know that if I am watching “The Kingdom of the Cats” that it has a 2 on the Ecchi Meter. But in order for that to work, there needs to be a show tied to that number, so everyone knows what that really means.

To this end, I have spent the last year working on an Ecchi Meter but I do not know how effective it is. It is a list of 11 shows from that with no fan service (“0”) to that with an ecchi content that borders on hentai (“10”). As far as hentai goes, that is another list and one I have no intention or desire to compile. Most hentai is boring and badly repetitive, much like porn. And badly repetitive.

I have my 11 shows, but how well do they stack up? Is there a better example of a 3 than what I have? And what are the criteria for that ranking? I have 15 conditions to help with this sortation process.Continue reading

princess jellyfish

Of all the genres out there in anime, I seem to find myself drawn to romantic comedies the most. But of all the genres out there in anime, this is the one that is the most fantastic to believe, as people really don’t act that way. Even giant fighting robot shows still work within a plausible (to a degree) logic. One seems to grant a lot of lenience with those titles in the sci-fi category.

But there is something about romantic comedies where direction and emotions get thrown to the winds and everyone hopes for the best. This means they can run hit and miss with the results and you may end up abandoning the show mid-stream, for it is just too much of a workout to continue following (as I did with “Peach Girl” and “Honey and Clover”).

That said, I have to extol the virtues of “Princess Jellyfish”. Don’t let the title put you off; there is a superior show lurking behind all that.Continue reading

fanservice

One of the hallmarks of anime is fan service. Certainly, to reward long-time viewers of shows, the creators throw in a bit of eye candy to keep your interest. However, it seems as of late that fan service is taking over to the point that it may be damaging shows.

Please understand that I am not wholly against fan service, especially when it is used to meaningful ends. For example, the fan service in “Mahoromatic” is employed to not only play up the pulchritudinous charms of Saori Shikijo, but it endlessly infuriates Mahoro Ando, who reminds us that “Dirty thoughts are bad.” This is a good use of fan service.

Other shows lob in the fan service before you can determine if you are a fan or not. “UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie” starts up in a bathhouse and we haven’t even gotten to the opening credits! I feel it is a cheap ploy to draw viewers in by offering up a lot of bubble-bath coated boobies and an implication that more will follow, so stick around.Continue reading