Now, this is a sports anime and I was in the middle of two other sports anime and I was really REALLY thinking of passing this one by, but the title arrested me (but I avoided a frisk-and-search), and that is “Yuri!!! On Ice” (and, yes, we need all those exclamation points as well. What is it now with exclamation points?) Now, I got pulled in, as I know what yuri means, but I had a hard time thinking is was a show about yuri types on ice. Well, they are a type of yuri type and….crap, send out the Zamboni and I’ll explain. (more…)
Wow, never have a seen a show with such *ahem* naked fan service and there are a ton of those shows out there (like “Eiken” and “Ikki Tousen” and “Sekerei”), but this one is unabashed about it, as it is all part and parcel as to what goes down. Welcome to “Keijo!!!!!!!!” (also known as “Competitive Girl” or “Hip Whip Girl”) And, yes, we do need all EIGHT of those exclamation points!!!!!!!!
If this came out in the 1970s, we would have called this ‘trash sports’, much like “Battle of the Network Stars”. It is a caliber of sport, but not what you would consider a real sport. And what is keijo????????
In the middle of a huge pool, and it had best be a squarish pool, so Olympic-sized pools may be too small, there is a float. This is referred to as a ‘land’. Depending on the size of this land, two or four or six ladies (and YES, it HAS to BE a LADY!!!!!!!!) stand on this floating land. Their goal: make the other competitors fall into the water or collapse to the land. And how is this done????????
Well….that is to say….I mean….h-h-how can I put this????????
The ladies must use either their breasts or butt to shove, force, propel or otherwise launch into the water their opponents or force them to the ground. Needless to say, this sport is very popular with the guys. The series revolves around four tyros to the Keijo League and all their struggles to become good enough to go pro and what is required of them to be able to attain that dream. And who are our fair and fulsome maidens to make this endeavor???????? From left to right:
Kazane Aoba, her right hand can copy any opponents attack, but she has to feel their butt
Sayaka Miyata, former judo champion and fast on her feet
Nozomi Kaminashi, former gymnast, her signature move is the Vacuum Butt Cannon
Non Toyoguchi, a country girl with a butt so soft, it absorbs attacks
They all feel they have the right stuff to make it, but are challenged at every turn and curve. They learn a butt-ton of butt exercises and the strategy to use every advantage for their benefit. And if they can move up to Elite Status, they get better food, better training and better support. Yeah, I need to put myself out there.
They are put through their paces, getting expert teachings from past masters and daily challenges to fortify both body and spirit. The high point of the show is the annual West vs East competition.
You see, there are two main schools to learn keijo and the best from both meet for a three-round competition to see which school is better. Our ladies are from the West, and the leading champs (they have won this competition for a solid decade) are from the East. Whereas our ladies are demure and courteous and sociable, those other ladies are cutting and sarcastic and rude. They MUST be put in their place, with a conclusion that was totally readable.
That was a bit of a drag, until I realized that we have to stretch out the episodes so we can see the ladies in their combat garb (bathing suits that even Venus would have a hard time wanting to vend) as they breast and butt their way to Ultimate Victory.
Honestly, this is a thin show. The main idea is about friendship, trust and dedication, but we have wrapped it around very tight or revealing swimsuits so it doesn’t mean much, unless you can use your massive orbs to propel another massive-orbed lady off the land. I am truly surprised I never heard the dig “Hey, lady, how’s the drink?”
I also felt there should have been more resistance from parents. We had one plot point for this, but would you, as a father, want your young daughter using her bedonkadonk to smack some other lady silly? Tough call, as you have to balance things as cautiously as you do when you stand upon the land. (PS, “Bop Girl” is an ‘80s song by Pat Wilson. Check it out; it’s a catchy tune).
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Cute girls, strange swim suits)
Plot 7 (Rather typical approach to an odd idea)
Pacing 7 (Fast and furious)
Effectiveness 7 (Well, it is an unusual sport)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 7 (Couldn’t escape self-set traps)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You fail to understand the nature of my butt!
Strength in “Numbers”
OK, don’t let the genre categories throw you on this one, although I question if ‘funny prison rape’ qualifies as one and no, there is no prison rape, funny or otherwise, in this series. “Nambaka” (“The Numbers”) relates the tale of our four favorite felons of Cell 13, Block 13. Introductions are in order, from left to right:
Rock, a man who likes to get into fights
Uno, a man who likes to gamble and win
Nico, a man who likes anime
Jyugo, a man who broke out of numerous prisons (more…)
Short Pull Series XXII – I’ve Got My Eye on You
One thing about a majority of the short-pull series that I see is that many of them are based from 4-koma strips and, boy howdy, does it show! It’s not much more than set-up, joke, punch line, we all have a good laugh and that’s the end of the episode. Next! It almost seems more trouble than it is worth, but these shows can also be quite enjoyable. I tend to think of them as a proving ground for future writers and directors to test the waters without investing a whole lot into it, especially if it tanks. (more…)
Holy guacamole! I knew that the Japanese people were strange, but the concept for this one would be a tough sell in anyone’s book. How it flew under the radar (for me) for so long can only be attributed to sheer luck. This is “Akikan” (“Empty Can!), where your fantasies are a mere sip away. (more…)
One gets the feeling that anime companies will do a show about anything. I mean, there are shows about playing Go (“Hikaru no Go”), performing rakugo (“Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu”) and even one about soda cans that turn into girls (“Akikan!”). So, I initially was not surprised when they did one about scuba diving. For most of us, what we know is whatever was gleaned from Jacques Cousteau specials on TV, or, in my case, “Sea Hunt” (yeah, check the archives for that one.) But what about something a tad more casual? Too bad “Amanchu!” is not that show. (more…)
Do You Want to Play a “Game”?
Although not exactly like “Shiro Bako” (which detailed the struggles of an anime production company and how they are getting out their latest offering), “New Game” (“Nyu Gemu”) details the struggles of a video game production company and how they are getting out their latest offering of one of their most popular games. It also follows the tale of Aoba Suzukaze, (dead center), a recent high school graduate, whose first real job is working for this company, Eagle Jump, and how she can fit in to the demands that both the company and game want of her. She also runs into or runs afoul of or runs around in circles with the odd and divergent staff that populate this company and I will tell you right out, there is not a single man that works for this place and precious few men seen among the show’s run. This means it raises the question “Is it yuri?” (as you may have seen in my commentary revolving around “Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid”). However, I’m going to let that pass and focus on the show itself. (more…)
“God’s Blessing” Upon Thee
One thing I have never been able to understand about MMORPGs is why they are predominantly set in medieval times. I assume it has to do with the mano-a-mano style of combat or perhaps we can use magic to cast a far-ranging spell to dish out damage to your enemies. It’s just that when we have an anime set in a caliber of MMORPG (“Sword Art Online”, “Log Horizon”, “The Tower of Druaga” and/or “And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?”) or if I find myself transported to another place and time, I end up here in this time frame. And no Starbucks. (more…)
On the flip side of Sakamoto, we have this guy. Everything Sakamoto is, he isn’t. “Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge” (“Tanaka-kun is Always Listless”) relates the tales of Tanaka. Now, I can’t tell for certain if he is lazy, anemic, bored or uncaring, but he desperately has to rely on the good-will of his friend, Oota, to physically truck him from place to place. He can (and does) sleep everywhere and it is a wonder how he is able to dress himself in the morning. If the food would just crawl into his mouth, he’d be as happy as they get.
Oota thinks he is missing out on a lot life has to offer, but Tanaka is content with things as they are. Even when classmate Miyano wants to be his apprentice, as she admires the complete inertness Tanaka exudes, he declines the offer, as that seems like too much work for him (and, after you see him in action, or inaction, you understand why). He also appears to be grandly clueless, as he stumbles upon a secret that fellow student Shiraishi has. Or maybe it’s that it doesn’t mean a great deal to him. This is both the core charm and the overall frustration with the series. You just can’t tell the difference.
Is he a slacker? Is he a passive-aggressive? Is he a sponge? Is he a deep thinker? You are never really sure, but to see the huge amount of effort placed onto him to be more than just a rolled-up carpet, lugged from place to place, is astounding. I just wonder what it will be like when he has to get a job.
There is also a series of OVAs, done in chibi style, of varying lengths, but nothing over a minute. They are not much more then set-up and gag, but it does help to explain things a bit better. It’s that for a single joke, there really was no logical way to insert it into the series without it coming off as more strangeness. Some may feel that this is a caliber of ‘nothing’ show, but something does happen; it just unrolls very slowly and maybe that’s what we want to say. Then again, maybe not.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Eyes seem too big)
Plot 8 (Expressed surprisingly well)
Pacing 8 (Good, despite a potential lethargic nature)
Effectiveness 8 (Tells itself well)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Oddly compelling)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Just let me sleep.
“Haven’t You Heard” the News?
There are a lot of strange shows about school life, whether we speak of “Ouran High School Host Club” or “School Rumble” or even “Medaka Box”, but the offering before us, “Sakamoto desu ga?” (“Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto” or “I’m Sakamoto, You Know?”) certainly ranks as one of the strangest. We follow the aforementioned First-Year Sakamoto (nope, we don’t know his first name AT ALL) the incredibly cool and popular genius who is well liked by both girls and boys. Despite the strange situations he may be in, Sakamoto always manages to fix the problem in absolute perfection while still being over the top. (more…)