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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

Purple

(She/Her)
Oh damn. I must have been thinking of New Cutey Honey. That just ruins the joke. Honestly there's a pretty weird split with the franchise where it's like 50/50 basically-porn/Mega-Man-but-girl-fighting-catgirl-gangsters. The original '70s show falls into the latter, and apparently so does Flash? Although wikipedia is... troubling.
The protagonist of the series, as with other Cutie Honey media, is Honey Kisaragi. However, unlike other Cutie Honey incarnations, Honey is not an android but possesses a fully functional human body including reproductive capabilities. Consequently, she is indeed a 16-year-old girl at the beginning of the series, not a robot posing as one.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I think it's a fundamentally troubled media license no matter what, so you're going to end up compartmentalizing a lot in engaging with any of it... Flash just seems to bring it adjacent to a separate set of precariously navigable stock thematics which to me (on paper) sounds more interesting to watch unfold in friction with its own inherent staples, rather than the "do you guys remember this stuff from when we were kids and how it ruled?" tributary approach folks like Gainax have employed with it.
 
just finished season 1 of spider isekai, which has gone from kitschy, video-gamey parody, down into the territory of commentary in a clumsy and too tied into the same content they're generally riffing off of. It's still a joy to watch though, but in contrast to the beginning where the non-spider portions were uninteresting to the point of distraction, it's now that the non-spider parts are frustrating but competent enough to keep thread through spider portions. It's intriguing in an almost completely brain-candy political intrigue arc, but the human characters are finally in scenarios that I feel tension for their resolution. It's also just in time for me to actually focus in on all the reincarnation talk that is nicely and relatively neatly set up in the final 3 or so episodes. I will not remember anyone's names, but I think they all have names now.

and I also finished the chimera ant arc in hxh. I actually don't know what the general consensus is about this, other than it being very notable, for good and bad. Really thrilled with it tho. The resolution of King and Komugi feels wholly earned, surprisingly so, and seems to make up for a lot of episodes that didn't really seem to end up going anywhere. Some of the meta-commentary involved is up for question, but I like how it was handled, though not necessarily "admire". I'm too lazy to spoiler tag a bunch of talk about it, but I'm sure the damn thing has been beaten to death anything. I mean, the show is great at big emotions and complex powers, which are covered here to the limit.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chimera Ant arc to me is... ambitious. It is swinging for the fences and it hits a lot of fucking dingers. I don't think it is a deconstruction of the shonen formula but it makes a lot of choices that intentionally subvert it, like having Gon's big rage based power up be a tragedy that fucks him up and helps very little and makes him seem more monstrous than the murder cat or having the main protagonist and villain never actually cross paths. Gon's existence NEVER plays a role in Mureum's life or instead of the victory being a symbol of humanity's ability to overcome, its a symbol that however monstrous a literal monster can be, humanity is capable of worse, like a needlessly cruel spite bomb.

But on the down side... its kind of an emotional slog. Its such a dark story and very drawn out, so it is very draining. It also almost feels like its own series within a series, which is interesting. So there's stuff to enjoy but respect feels like the stronger word in that arc for me.

Fact is, the final arc is actually a lighter story and a great palette cleanser, despite having some of the most horrifying imagery the series produced.


Speaking of shonen, I watched Demon Slayer: Mugen Train. I still have issues with this franchise, mostly its treatment of Nezuko and Zenitsu being kind of awful when he's awake. I know shonen series have a history of the annoying wiener kid but despite having a fun fight gimmick, he's kind of awful. But its easy to forget that beyond the beautiful animation, Demon Slayer is pretty damned good when it wants to be. I kind of felt like they were doing some low key foreshadowing on its ending in the series 1 season finale (two characters has a convo that screamed to me "this is their last convo") but its still very effective, even if the very last fight feels weird in a movie structure in that it is only loosely related to the main plot. But its still a great fight. And it made me excited for a series where I remembered the flaws more than the MANY good stuff it had going for it (it did hurt a bit that its one of those series that never quite lives up to a stellar first ep). Interested to see the new series next year.

Also, I don't have much to say about To Your Eternity except it continues to be VERY good and like Oddtaxi, I want to talk about it a lot.
 
Since new animes are coming out, it was time to check a couple more out. First off, Drugstore in Another World seems to be a relatively inoffensive slice of life show. Office drone Reiji Kirio wakes up in another world with the ability to make any potion. Which is great since he saves the life of Noela, a werewolf girl who becomes his store's mascot. Along with ghost girl and shop assistant Mina, Reiji brews up cures that turn out to be pretty popular. The first episode does little world building, aside from a couple of lines here and there, but I'm not turned off by it. Instead it simply shows Reiji being a really good pharmacist. I'll probably keep watching it since I like slice of life shows.

D Cide Traumeri on the other hand throws out story and terms with little explanation as to what the actual fuck is going on aside from weird monsters, people have to fight them, and the main character seeing his older brother getting killed and the weird symbol he left. Which, shockingly, is the same symbol on the weird monsters! Are they connected (of course they are)? What are the weird monsters? Do I really care enough to watch a second episode? Eh, that's my rule so probably but I don't see myself checking out much more after that.

And while not technically an anime, The Daily Life of the Immortal King is a Chinese cartoon that is very much like The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, except it's magical kung fu abilities and everyone has them, but the main character is super powered in comparison to everyone else. I liked Saiki K, so this is right up my alley.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I can’t stop watching Oddtaxi. I have to struggle to watch anything else every time I sit down to watch TV.

All the character dialogue is stellar, but when the gacha addicted cat guy aimlessly wandered the city looking for Odakawa, saying he’s used to working with far worse odds after playing the same gacha for four years? That hit me.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Oddtaxi is definitely my favourite show of the year. Though it is unfair since Winter had two big disappointing second seasons of some shows I loved and this season's been a huge dry spell. But Oddtaxi is nonetheless well worth checking out. To Your Eternity is also very good, but doesn't have the advantage of economy and clockwork efficiency that services Oddtaxi so well.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
So I was just made aware of this obscure cutesy OAV called Space Family Carlvinson, which is about a bunch of wacky aliens (I'm reasonably sure every single one of which is a cutesified version of something, offhand the real core cast seems to clearly include Leader One, Nei from Phantasy Star 2, and one of these guys:


And then one of the minor characters is this this here cutesy cartoon dog.


And he looks like that for all but like, maybe 10 frames out of the whole thing. Very blink and you'll miss it. Like when he gets mildly injured at some point and needs a moment to pull himself together, and when sneezes at one point with his back to the camera.

And apparently the manga this is based on goes into quite a bit more of his backstory, explaining that he is, I am not making this up, John Carpenter, director and presumably star of The Thing. And you know, Halloween, Christine, Big Trouble In Little China, etc.

So that's amazing. Anyway it's fansubbed on youtube but now I really really need to see the manga.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Yeah, I kinda buried that under all the obscure reference stuff, but it's a nice charming little wholesome family-building story. With bug monsters. And robots.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Man, I been sitting on these reviews for a while. We are well into the season and I’m FINALLY getting to these last little shows I decided to try out. And some I wrote the reviews before I tried later episodes.

D_Cide Traumerei




Premise (from memory)

A young guy ends up finding a weird dimensional portal to some sort of horrible world full of hand dogs and young warriors who fight against them with powers. He eventually unlocks his own power, lion hands, to battle a gaming nerd gone made that merged with a monster. Then the character realizes the main threat is connected to a childhood trauma.

It Gud?

Like Scarlet Nexus, what could have been another “based on a game” trainwreck is… watchable but not something to get invested in. It was a completely watchable half-hour of TV, which is more than I can say about The Detective is Already Dead (for at least two reasons). I kind of like the dog/hand monsters, which are kind of a cool visual. The animation wasn’t all that bad either, though it doesn’t quite live up to the intro in terms of quality.


But after the Duke of Death, this was noticeably better. Part of me wonders if it was, in fact, simply better, or if the Duke of Death’s character designs didn’t lend themselves to the CG look as well as this one.

When this one started, I thought it was going to be about a card or VR game everyone is into that turns out to be legit important (like Yu-Gi-Oh or Bakugan) but it turns out it was just to set up the plot of the episode. Really, I while I wasn’t over the moon, I will say the show turned out better than my expectations. But I also feel there wasn’t enough there to keep me going. Though having a girl with a mini-gun with a Mabel Pines-like taste in Ice Cream Cone Sweaters is a nice touch.

Aquatope of the White Sand



Premise

A teen idol is dropped from her girl group and with nowhere to go makes an impromptu visit to Okinawa. There, she finds an aquarium, which moves her greatly and decides she wants a job there. Why, this must be divine happenstance, because the director, also a teen girl, is desperate for workers to help her keep the aquarium afloat. In fact, it may be divine happenstance, thanks to a little god with a penchant for fish heads.

It Gud?

After last seasons flawed but enjoyable and relaxing Super Cub, Aquatope is a nice change of pace while still being a nice, relaxing chill show. It doesn’t luxuriate in ambiance of the quiet moments but it is a nice quiet show about two girls who grow a friendship through a mutual love. The show has a supernatural bent but that doesn’t inform the show greatly so much as it is set dressing… so far. One character has a vision of sorts but it isn’t at the shows core, instead, skirting around the edge of the series (so far).

Instead, first and foremost, its about two girls who love an aquarium and are going through a learning curve, one learning to run a complicated business at a young age and being a good leader and the other diving into a new life of challenges. There’s a lot more visual pleasure than the much more muted Super Cub, as this is a much more colorful series. In all honesty, I’m not expecting much more than spending a nice time with some likable characters as they figure their deals out and maybe on occasion, see trippy stuff.

Ore, Tsushima



Premise

A large cat moves in with an old woman.

It Gud?

This is basically like Garfield, except I actually enjoy it. This is a short one, two minutes a piece. Weirdly, they also have an alternate “web only” version and all are available on their youtube page. There’s so little, there isn’t a lot to say. I don’t think its laugh out loud funny but I like the look of the cat and the voicework is good. If you want to see a short little bit of something, you could do worse.



Battle Game in 5 Seconds



Premise

A kid walks down the street, narrating to himself that he’s too fucking smart for everything and he’d just rather play games forever. He’s attacked by a giant mummy but manages to defeat it using his love of gaming. I hate this character. A woman shows up dressed like a cat and keeps saying “nya” and has a weird voice and blows a fucking hole in the main character. I am conflicted about this character. Anyway, it turns out that he’s been recruited into a death game and all the participants have been given a super power. He game kid learns his power is potentially amazing… but relies entirely on trickery.

It Gud?

Generally “death game” shows tend not to be good. This doesn’t have to be the case. The Battle Royale movie and manga (for its problematic elements) are very good (never read the source novel). But it tends to attract an understandable (if not forgivable) edgelord sheen. Women are strong killers but they still moon over the lead character for his murder abilities is a trope I’ve seen too often in here. Battle Game in 5 Seconds… isn’t the worst in this type of programming but it feels very much in the same wheelhouse. But the lead character is immediately off-putting, and his initial ability to be a perfect battle strategist because he is very good at video games is the stupidest kind of wish fulfillment. Not even worse, but naked and dumb about who it is trying to appeal to in a pandering way.

But there is one bright spot: the power he gets is very fun. Potentially. It’s a fun idea for a power and could lead to, in theory, clever stuff in the way that Talentless Nana could be. But everything else tells me it won’t be. It’s a pretty dumb show and its not very well animated either. Its not unwatchable but it doesn’t seem worth watching. And in a season where I feel like I’m grasping at straws for something to watch, having a good reveal NOT enticing me to continue is pretty damning.

Sonny Boy



Premise

The world has disappeared. A school and its students exist in a black void. Are they trapped forever? Why do some of them have superpowers? Or do they all? One boy seems to not want to get involved if possible with this weirdness but a girl wants to fight against a new power structure that is emerging among the students. Soon a battle is brewing between a new “student council” and some of the students but the girl who isn’t interested in the power games seems more interested in setting herself, and maybe everyone else free. And she soon reveals that freedom is a lot closer than it appears. But once she upends the already weird status quo, what complications will that lead to.

It Gud?

I’m still sorting out my feelings on this one. This was the show I was super looking forward to at the start of the season and I came away from it lukewarm. Usually of me and JBear, surreal trippy shows is much my jam with shows like Wonder Egg Priority (which I’m given to understanded ended… badly) and Sarazenmai being for me. Sonny Boy is very much in the same mode, save for it being a very quiet show (the show has no music until the episode ends with the show’s NEW status). It feels like it is for me. I think its not making any secret that it is inspired by Lord of the Flies and Drifting Classroom (itself directly referenced in the episode, but also feels like it wants to reject the more cynical element of Flies with a protagonist wanting to shake the characters out of their own personal traps of wanting to impose order.

But I also feel that while this is swinging for the fences, there’s also a very… high school mentality at play. Which makes all the sense in the world. But I remember being at that age and finding so much meaning in a show like this and being older feeling a bit like in trying to say big stuff about life, man, it comes across as a bit to enamored with doing this at the cost of me being invested in the characters. To be fair, part of this is that the lead character looks to be having a journey of learning that you need to be involved with people and society, no matter your desire to sit on the sidelines. I think it will open up. But it feels metaphor over character and while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, it is keeping me at a distance.

The mystery itself is somewhat interesting. Do characters know more than they are letting on? One shitty character seems to be, particularly with a significant look by episode’s end (though that just could be that he realizes his ambitions to control are being thwarted). I’m definitely going to give it a try. It seems very much for me. But I’m worried that if they put message before character or don’t properly integrate them, it will be a series that becomes frustrating or, an even bigger risk, insufferable.

(Note, I’ve seen the second episode since writing this and I am liking it more)

The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace



Premise

800 years ago, the God fought demons for humanity. As the battle came to a close, the Gods entered the demon world to close the gateway from the inside, leaving only one God to protect the Earth. Now she must train teen-like Gods with no little interest and would rather just enjoy peace time… until a fascist warhawk nation looks to reawaken the demons. Then the young Gods must spring into action and fight.

It Gud?

*sigh*

OK, lets get this started. This is a series with a lot going for it. It is stylish. It’s a very good looking show with some wonderful animation scenes and a tone that feels reminiscent of early Dragonball, complete with a wacky Dr. Wily/Eggman-esque mad scientist to antagonize our super powerful kids. Most of the show got off on the right foot. Oh, there were warning signs. This otherwise sensational intro has a top-heavy naked nun.


But I did notice that it begins with the Noitamina anime block logo, which is a late night block that tends to skew adult. I mean, not everything in it has ecchi stuff, some it just demographically more mature, like Honey and Clover (man, this animation block’s been around for a while). So why did this VERY shonen-y show end up there. I mean, Hunter X Hunter is pretty violent at times but it still gets prime time.

So here we go. Serious trigger warning here. Keyword: sexual assault.

The first episode had some extreme violence in the name of comedy and maybe a blue joke. But then we get to the last scene of the episode. Seriously, we are at the event horizon here if you want to back out.

We see a nun praying for help from the Gods after she’s beset by some Nazi-like goons. I’m not going to go into detail about how everything plays out but some of the extra details make it extra unpleasant. But it gives us, I fuck you not, a stylish rape scene. Who wants this? Like, stylish in part for standards and practices, maybe but also the show is really leaning into how over the top wild the rape scene is done in shadow on stained glass over wild, dramatic music.

Well, fuck, that just yucked a fairly decent yum for me. I was on the fence on watching the second episode. I decided to try it in case that was a one-off case of “what were you thinking”. Well, the good news is there isn’t a stylish rape again. The bad news is that the show wants us to know that the bad guys, even if they don’t SHOW it, are super into rape. One of the villains gives a call and response speech where she allows them to go into detail of the KINDS of people they want to rape. Then their legs spin Looney Tunes-style towards the enemy town.

WHY? WHY SHOW? What could have been a fun bit of fun that… also may or may not have something to say about godhood (one God paints the gods as useless to help against any horror that isn’t a demon, which may have pointed in a direction that maybe Gods could do more, but also it looks like the bad guys have super powers so maybe the point is moot?). It even made me laugh once or twice (one baddy in a robot body breaks it and uses a generic body with his picture taped on it. Its an old joke but it made me laugh). But your weird (warning again) rape obsession completely cleaned out any desire I had to see your show. A couple years back, I quit Fire Force because of its repeated shitty treatment of its female characters. I can’t tell if I should be more angry for just being worse or grateful that at least it laid its cards on the table to let me know I should get out. And get out I did.
 
yea my partner and i were gonna start itaden deities, but i heard the rumors and checked out the manga to see the extent, and about three chapters in i decided it wasn't for us (or maybe anyone). I'm not particularly sensitive to the content, I listen to sutcliffe jugend or watch explotation movies that handle it poorly, and I can understand the use as a plot device. It's rare that it ever really has good use as a plot device though, and the style and theming of the manga up to that point doesn't play towards it, and how its handled on its own isn't any better. Maybe it goes somewhere, the manga has a reputation of rising above it at some point i guess, but I don't think I trust it to be anything other than lazy about the statements it needs/wants to make.

e: it does seem like the show handles the nun's rape better than in the manga though. Not to any appreciable end maybe, and at best it is using the same lazy tricks directors have been doing for years to try to sterilize the content (I don't think it worked with Kubrick and I doubt it works here).
 
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R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I’ve been blasting through the “Final” season of Attack on Titan. This series still hooks me like few other anime ever have, but the imagery and themes of this season are so damn charged that it skyrockets past the well worn “problematic“ and into “dangerously irresponsible” territory. How do you even talk about this show?
 
Aquatope of the White Sand is a show that is the most PA Works show to ever PA Works. Their output as a studio I find is very scattershot, but when it hits it hits. And so far I'm feeling pretty positive about this one based on what's come out so far. This might not be a Shirobako or an Eccentric Family level of instant classic, but it definitely seems like it'll at least be a good time on the level of Appare-Ranman or Sakura Quest. I also have mild hope that the yuri undertones will develop into something substantial, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Sonny Boy - it's anyone's guess how this one will go, but so far I'm enamored. At the very least, the craftsmanship on display in this show is just top notch and it oozes style. I've also got a lot of faith in the director - Shingo Natsume - who you guys might know for having directed shows in the past like ACCA, Season 1 of One Punch Man, Space Dandy, and is a master when it comes to key animation.

Both of these are anime-original productions, which I'm always inherently more interested in versus adaptations. Aquatope is slated for 24 episodes as well, so I'm very interested to see the arc of where this show goes.

I’ve been blasting through the “Final” season of Attack on Titan. This series still hooks me like few other anime ever have, but the imagery and themes of this season are so damn charged that it skyrockets past the well worn “problematic“ and into “dangerously irresponsible” territory. How do you even talk about this show?
I still mostly defend AoT for using Nazi/concentration camp imagery because the show/comic very much does so with the purpose of pointing out hey, these things are bad, and people who perpetuate violence like this and are fascists are bad people. And the world, especially nowadays, could use a reminder that Nazis are bad.

But oh man does this comic completely fumble the ending. Like, I know where the comic is coming from, and why it had the ending that it did, but there's just no defending how it goes down. For those with morbid curiosity but don't want to patronage this show/comic, I'll give a short synopsis:

Eren starts a conspiracy to overthrow the government. The show's/comic's POV almost completely pulls away from him and after a while makes it pretty explicit that he is the bad guy now. The rest of his friends from his unit all band together to fight back against his coup attempt, recognizing what Eren is doing is wrong, but it's too late/he did it 30 minutes ago, and Eren wakes up all the Titans inside the walls and commands them to commit genocide by stomping across the land and completely crushing everything on the planet. The remains of the Survey Corps band together with the former antagonists (the ones who killed Eren's hometown to begin with) and a multiethnic alliance to put an end to "The Rumbling" - which they do, but not before Eren manages to wipe out ~90% of the Earth's population first.

Most of the post-time-skip period, a large part of the mystery revolves around what is Eren even thinking and what could possibly lead him to break this bad. When he's on his deathbed after the climax of the comic, he explains himself to Armin that with his weird time-traveling powers, he saw no other way of doing things and was just compelled to follow his destiny, which also intentionally set things up so that his friends could be the saviors of humanity as a result. He laments that the perpetual cycle of human violence is inevitable but seems resigned in abdicating his free will. The last chapter shows the world rebuilding, and Armin showing concern and trepidation that this peace is only temporary, old grudges were not extinguished, and that someday war will return. But he and Mikasa give a heart felt thanks to Eren for sacrificing his life and doing horrible things, even if they know he was wrong.

And like, I get why the author did this. Lotta people out there are emotionally attached to the characters, Attack on Titan thrives on examining moral ambiguity, and he very famously said he revised his originally planned ending so that it would be 'less depressing' and wrote himself into a corner. But my guy. You turned Eren into Super Hitler. Nobody worth more than the shits they take is interested in humanizing Hitler and his inner struggles. And nobody should be thanking him for anything. I could give the show/comic reasonable doubt and excuses all the way up until the last two or three chapters, but the author shit the bed extra hard on the landing. Eren concludes the only way to end chronic human strife is genocide, and none of the principle characters can manage to tell him you're full of shit. Bad, ugly, miserable look there.

On the plus side, while this was coming out, I don't know if I read a single opinion that this ending was good, or that they didn't drop the ball. Most people in the moment recognized how shitty and bad this ending was, and it's become somewhat of a meme. Eren's the villain! There's no redeeming a genocidal monster! So while the author very clearly has very pessimistic views of humanity, I weirdly had some of my faith in humanity restored when most people I read rejected this bullshit.

Edit: I think the most infuriating part of the ending is that there was a very easy out to literally all of this. There's a plot device that's introduced at one point that implies that the King of the Titans can just manipulate the DNA of people with Titan-potential at will. Zeke's foiled plan is to activate that power himself and use it to sterilize all the Eldians so that their ethnicity dies out naturally and peacefully, putting an end to the threat of Titans forever. Eren forges an alliance with Zeke only to betray him at the last minute so that he could wield that power to get revenge against the world. But hey, here's a simple thought: why go to either of these extremes? Why not just disable the Titan powers all together? Then you're ending this threat, which is the source of strife/distrust to begin with. You don't need to genocide anyone! I thought for sure this was going to be the end game/revised ending, but instead the rumbling happened and I had to read multiple chapters of 100m Titans grotesquely crushing billions of people underfoot. Fuck this show/comic. It's going to be hilarious watching the response as anime-onlys finally get to the ending of the franchise. The sense of betrayal will be palpable. This botched ending is one of the biggest self-owns I've ever seen in a piece of media. It might be worse than the LOST ending or the Game of Thrones ending.
 
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But I did notice that it begins with the Noitamina anime block logo, which is a late night block that tends to skew adult. I mean, not everything in it has ecchi stuff, some it just demographically more mature, like Honey and Clover (man, this animation block’s been around for a while). So why did this VERY shonen-y show end up there. I mean, Hunter X Hunter is pretty violent at times but it still gets prime time.
noitaminA doesn't really mean what it used to. It started out as an "adult" programming block. But adult in the truest of sense, and not just cheap/lazy code for a bunch of juvenile violence and sex. Most of its shows were adaptations of praised literary works, and had Josei/Seinen sensibilities, and were more at home at arthouse theaters rather than other typical late night anime, and dealt with adult characters with adult issues. But after a certain point, the programming block's founder was either sacked or moved on to other things, and you started to get a lot more questionable content that stopped being so mature and wholesome, and started to be "mature" with air quotes.

I put the dividing line at Psycho-Pass in 2012. (I think you could make an argument that the dividing line was a few months earlier at Guilty Crown, but it's still mostly around the same time.) After that point, you started to get a lot more horny, male-gazey, problematic, juvenile shows, and the shows that felt at home with the origins of the programming block became more and more immature and male-oriented. Before Psycho-Pass, the horniest shows on noitaminA was shows like Tatami Galaxy and Moyashimon. That treated sexuality in a much more mature, matter-of-fact, facet of the human condition rather than its raison d'être and never really indulged in trying to create titilating imagery for the sake of arousal. And action/violence became much more common place. Post Psycho-Pass however, you have a growing preponderance of immature, teenage, horny, brain-dead power fantasies that instead of being gender neutral or female-oriented, are clearly just for a straight male audience only. Shows like Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, or Punch Line, or Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress[/i], or Scum's Wish, or Inuyashiki, or The Promised Neverland. To the point where the block is now just indistinguishable from the rest of late-night seasonal anime.

There's still gems that make their way to the noitaminA programming block that felt at home in the original intent of the block like The Great Passage, or Wotakoi, or Sarazanmai, or even Millionare Detective. But long gone are the days where you knew every show was going to be entertaining and lacked problematic aspects. I used to watch every noitaminA show without fail for a decade, and now I don't bother unless the show just happens to be worth watching.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Battle Game in 5 Seconds
He game kid learns his power is potentially amazing… but relies entirely on trickery.

I'm having a hard time parsing that sentence, but it sounds like this is the same basic premise as Erfworld, remember that? Odd webcomic? Don't make the mistake I did and look into whatever happened with that.

Oh, there were warning signs. This otherwise sensational intro has a top-heavy naked nun.


Oh damn, I didn't even have to look at the spoilers there. EVERYTHING about that intro just absolutely screams "The person or persons primarily responsible for this show absolutely hate women and are incapable of seeing them as anything other than objects to which awful things are to be done" to me, at a volume level approaching probable cause to start a criminal investigation.

I’ve been blasting through the “Final” season of Attack on Titan. This series still hooks me like few other anime ever have, but the imagery and themes of this season are so damn charged that it skyrockets past the well worn “problematic“ and into “dangerously irresponsible” territory. How do you even talk about this show?
With an article on the history of antisemitism open in the background?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I'm having a hard time parsing that sentence, but it sounds like this is the same basic premise as Erfworld, remember that? Odd webcomic? Don't make the mistake I did and look into whatever happened with that.
No idea. Anyway, the main character's power her is to have any super-power other people THINKS he has. So if he can convince someone he has a certain power, he has it.
 
I decided to check the first two episodes of Itaden Deities, just so I could have some claim on it (and, to be honest, the styling is so striking I figured if I shut my mind off I could gloss over it.) I'll spoiler the actual talk though
So I've mentioned the manga, and the show does actually handle it better. In the manga the early assault scene (idk if there are additional ones) lingers for a bit, including a big overhead shot of the naked body, visually in pain and cringing. It's ugly, and looks drawn to be in hentai. The show cleans it up, has one scene (as i mentioned, it's similar to the assault in A Clockwork Orange, desensitized images with music), and then another just on her face without music and such. It's not graceful, but it's stomach-able. Or I think it would be if it wasn't so totally disconnected from the rest of the violence of the show. And the rest of the show is violent. It's played for laughs throughout everything. I think it's some weird representation of the itaden being immortal and exceptional or whatever, but there is such an incongruity in how it's all handled. If the spectacle of violence is ever-present and entertainment, then using sexual violence as a keyword for the "horrors of war" as every boneheaded online anime fan is defending it on, is cheaper and lazier than just including it for voyeurism. I don't know, as I said I'm not terribly sensitive to this, so I don't think I should be the one to judge it, but I also think it's just a bit tiring at this point for lazy and uninteresting "war is bad" narrative fulcrums

I also got back into To Your Eternity. Ending of the third episode is one of the best moments in TV i've seen in a while. I think i might just be in love with it, but it's also probably because I've seen very few shows actually handle subtlety with any sort of grace recently. It's kind of scary moving to each episode, because there is emotion dripping between the lines, but it's really just beautiful.


With an article on the history of antisemitism open in the background?
i dont think i'd wage anti-semitism claims against AoT, but it's mostly because the depth it takes on its symbolism is akin to a puddle. The problem with so much of their imagery is that it's set-dressing and shorthand rather than a specifically historical relation on its topics. I think the story is meant to be specifically existential, so it takes mismatching symbols from various events in history (the nazi allegory is easy to pinpoint, but it's not a clean 1 to 1 w/r/t the relation of marley and eldia). That's not to defend the show or author (who i know has a nationalist/imperial streak), and of course the poor handling opens the door for those readings, but I don't really read it that way myself.
 
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Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
It'd be pretty hard to out-shit the GoT show final season and ending, simply because it became increasingly clear over the years that the showrunners had no clue what to do without having copious original material to condense into a TV show as you watch plotlines and entire characters evaporate into smoke and cardboard stands. Like, they turned a multi-billion merchandising engine into a smoking wreck in the space of weeks to the point where retailers and advertisers were awkwardly changing the subject whenever someone mentioned the series to them.

"Oops, I'm gonna Hitler now"
is bad sure, but also feels oddly appropriate for how edgelordy I found the little bits of AoT I'd read over the years?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I also got back into To Your Eternity. Ending of the third episode is one of the best moments in TV i've seen in a while. I think i might just be in love with it, but it's also probably because I've seen very few shows actually handle subtlety with any sort of grace recently. It's kind of scary moving to each episode, because there is emotion dripping between the lines, but it's really just beautiful.
To Your Eternity is one of the years best shows. I think its bold to slow build a "lead" character from quasi-sentience. There are arcs but it is almost analogous to an anthology early on due to the nature of how the lead fits in. You are in for a great ride, as the show has yet to dip in quality.

For a show with subtly and grace, I'm going to say Oddtaxi is also a fantastic show, a very low key mystery series that slowly ratchets up the tension without losing its humanity and humour.

I'm never going to stop talking about Oddtaxi.

So far, I need to say that Kageki Shoujo!! is starting to disappoint me. The first two episodes are fine, then the third episode goes DEEP into dark territory about a lead character living with a step father who is clearly a pedophile and her having to spend much of her youth trying to avoid him. I was like "This is dark but I'm still mulling over if they handled this incredibly harsh subject matter correctly. I think the intention is there but I have doubts on if they did it properly." The fourth episode confirmed this by having a misguided episode involving a well-intentioned stalker saving the day. Then a cliffhanger where we learn that one character is anorexic. I was not anticipating this to be the show that it is nor do I trust the show to handle it properly.
 
is bad sure, but also feels oddly appropriate for how edgelordy I found the little bits of AoT I'd read over the years?
It's not just "Oops, I'm gonna Hitler now" because Eren was thoroughly discredited and vilified and the road to that as you say, was a long time coming but it was specifically "Thank you Hitler, we love you!" that the comic closes on is what does it. It's just so bad and awful, that it makes you reconsider everything up to that point and makes you want to stop giving the show the benefit of the doubt that you previously may have been inclined to do. I'm really curious how MAPPA will handle the final arc of the story. Because if they don't change or edit things in some very acute ways, I feel relatively confident in saying they really will have a GoT situation on their hands.

Re: To Your Eternity - I still really like and adore this show and just about every aspect of it. It's masterful. But oh man, I stalled out on this one a few weeks ago, and I've had a hard time building up the motivation to go back. It's just so heavy and depressing that I have a hard time building up the motivation and the emotional buffer to sit through what I know is going to happen. And as bad as that sounds, it's honestly a credit to the show, actually. I only feel this way because it's an emotionally affecting show that hits in ways that few discrete pieces of media ever manage to do. I wouldn't feel this way if I didn't intensely care about the characters and the stories they're telling. It would be really easy for a show like this to feel cheap and emotionally manipulative, and disengage from disinterest and annoyance, but instead it strikes on all cylinders and hits the nail square on the head every time.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I wouldn't feel this way if I didn't intensely care about the characters and the stories they're telling.
Yeah, by Gugu's story, it is easy to see where things are going in the broadest terms (heck, the story going on now pretty much reveals how this one is going to end) and yet I think of all of them it was the ones when I was most engaged by the characters and still taken back by some of the turns (certainly didn't expect that he was turned into a human distillery). It doesn't treat Gugu's journey as a "well, we need to get him here" and invests us fully.

So far, this one is definitely in my top three shows of the year.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
using sexual violence as a keyword for the "horrors of war" as every boneheaded online anime fan is defending it on

I abhor this justification. I abhor it more than any other writing trope in existence.

Yes, it happens.

Yes, it happens because of the power differential.

Not every story about war has to include it. There are other themes. There are other ways to show dehumanization. There are other ways to make an antagonist monstrous. There are other ways to create sympathy and tragedy.

"Oh but it's realistic!"

This is a fantasy anime with immortal gods, with their own sets of morality and values. If you want to be "realistic" go write (and watch) shows about humans in "realistic" wartime and then actually deal with the consequences of that, as opposed to using it as tasteless garnish, my dude.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I mean, even worse, the second episode specifically puts it into "gag" territory (in the "humour" sense of the word, though elicited a reaction akin to its other meaning). This show goes well beyond the usual "well, I can compartmentalize this" that I do with older anime or anime that I find otherwise good but with problematic elements.

BTW, in a more feel good anime camp (one that can be enjoyed for basically all ages), the teen romance movie Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is on Netflix and its really enjoyable, a love story with a guy and a girl with some insecurities and the search for a missing record. Its a very sweet, low-stakes film with an 80s ultra-loud color scheme, which feels appropriate for a film set primarily in a mall.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
So far, I need to say that Kageki Shoujo!! is starting to disappoint me. The first two episodes are fine, then the third episode goes DEEP into dark territory about a lead character living with a step father who is clearly a pedophile and her having to spend much of her youth trying to avoid him. I was like "This is dark but I'm still mulling over if they handled this incredibly harsh subject matter correctly. I think the intention is there but I have doubts on if they did it properly." The fourth episode confirmed this by having a misguided episode involving a well-intentioned stalker saving the day. Then a cliffhanger where we learn that one character is anorexic. I was not anticipating this to be the show that it is nor do I trust the show to handle it properly.
I'm unhappy about the stalker. It'd be one thing if the previous two episodes didn't give him such a sinister tone. That said, given the kind of show that it is, I actually did expect that second spoiler to come up eventually. Like, I anticipated that the show was going to be a yuri story set against the backdrop of the ugliness and competition of the (young) acting world, which included things like the second. After all, the protagonist's stated goal is to be one of the 4 best actors in the entire company, a spot that would result in some pretty vicious infighting.

I got blindsided by the first spoiler, though. It says a lot about how that character acted going forward, but I don't know if they needed to go into quite that much detail...

Well, the fourth episode is on the docket for me tonight with my group watch, so I'll think about it more.


I abhor this justification. I abhor it more than any other writing trope in existence.

Yes, it happens.

Yes, it happens because of the power differential.

Not every story about war has to include it. There are other themes. There are other ways to show dehumanization. There are other ways to make an antagonist monstrous. There are other ways to create sympathy and tragedy.

"Oh but it's realistic!"

This is a fantasy anime with immortal gods, with their own sets of morality and values. If you want to be "realistic" go write (and watch) shows about humans in "realistic" wartime and then actually deal with the consequences of that, as opposed to using it as tasteless garnish, my dude.
A thing that comes to mind is that the kind of people who say it is "realistic" are probably saying a lot more about themselves then they think they are. Like, I don't know, maybe it's just me, but it feels like saying THAT is a "natural" reaction is revealing a lot about how that person thinks about those around them.

But that said, I also think it's become "realistic" because it's a self-reinforcing theme. At some points it was probably done based on a thing that happened, and ever since it's been people who have only seen someone else use that theme, so it obviously must be "real". If the only exposure to the horrors of war you have is people using this one theme, then at some point is it unusual that you're gonna think that it's "realistic"?
 
More random anime thoughts:

My Next Life as a Villainess is still one of my favorite shows so far. They still find ways to make Catarina likeable. That fake out over the last two episodes was wonderful.

The Great Jahy Won't be Discouraged feels like a worse and hornier The Devil is a Part Timer. Will it get better than the first episode? I doubt it.

And Tsukimichi is one I don't hate or really like. It's an isekai that claims it's horrible to be in an isekai. And then goes on to give it's protagonist massive power and two large breasted companions. The story is hopefully going somewhere, because the first five episodes just kind of meander with things happening.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
I... don't think Tsukimichi's message is "It's horrible to be in an isekei". The protag gets a bonus from the god of his original world on his way out, but the god of the place he's going to was expecting his sisters instead and so just boots him to the middle of nowhere.

You're not wrong about it just kind of being there, though. I'm enjoying it, but it's basically That Time I Was Reincarnated As A Slime, but written much more as a male power fantasy.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Is there something significant in the decision to spell isekai "isekei"? This is not a word I've heard of.
 
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