October 19, 2012

A Fantastic Show About Ladies Kissing And Wanting To Kiss Each Other.

I don’t really know why I’m back in the groove of blogging more often, but I guess I won’t complain.

I do some really annoying shit sometimes. Like, I’m in a fucking fantastic relationship, one I hope lasts for as long as I can imagine existing. I’m so happy. But I’m stupid. I’m bisexual. I like ladies. I often want to hug on them and smooch them. So I get into these moments when I’m just kind of obsessed with doing so. It makes me feel very ungrateful for what I have, which is shitty. I don’t think CJ minds too much, though, seeing as he sneaks me dirty pictures of ladies he thinks I’ll like on a regular basis.

The point is, I was in one of those moods, and I decided I was going to try to deal with it for once by watching a show about ladies smooching. I asked twitter, and an expert on romantic anime and things of that nature got back to me (thanks, tungwene!) and suggested I watch a show called Aoi Hana. I sought it out, tried it, and it was exactly what I was wanting. So awesome. I mean, it has that thing where they’re making a short series from a long-running manga, which means everything is not wrapped up completely at the end? That’s kind of frustrating. But what’s there is very well done and very engaging. It’s awesome.

Seriously, you look at anime, and you just despair in general, but shows like this kind of make you regain faith in humanity. The main character, Fumi, being gay isn’t like… a thing for fanservice, or a thing just thrown in there. It’s as complicated as it is at that age, especially in Japan, which is kind of accepting of such things but kind of not. Add to that that she’s friends with a bunch of people going to a Catholic school, or at least what looks like one to me, and it really gets tense. There’s this great scene where she feels like she has to come out to her good friend Aachan, and she’s sobbing and saying “Please don’t think I’m disgusting…” and it’s just heartbreaking. I mean, you kind of know it’s not going to be a problem? The two of them are in the opening sequence running about, hand in hand, and even naked at one point. But it’s just… realistic, I feel. I certainly freaked out similarly coming out to people close to me.

At the same time, it’s not like “I’m a lesbian” is her complete character. She’s a person, and while the relationship concerns of a teenager are aimed at girls and not boys, she still acts like a teenager and an actual human being would at most points. Near the end of the series, there was a situation set up where Fumi saw Aachan shopping with a boy, and freaked out about it. I said to myself, “Oh no, not a WACKY MISUNDERSTANDING that’s going to set off fights for a long while! How stupid.” But it wasn’t like that at all. She moped about it for awhile, then almost instantly sought an explanation for what happened, and moved on. You know, like a person would, and not a sitcom character. I breathed a sigh of relief there.

It’s a good show, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why I can watch this sort of thing. I enjoy this kind of character and romance driven drama quite a bit, when I find one that works for me. It often leaves me a bit depressed, or worked up, in the way that something dramatic and sad can move you, though. This is a feeling I tend to avoid, thanks to years of being depressed and not wanting to set off an episode. Avoiding that feeling is something that keeps me from watching all these dramas that CJ likes with him, because I just don’t want to deal with that. Yet when the plot is romance-based, I dive right in. I feel like such a girl. Heh. I don’t know. I’ve always been more interested in character interaction than plot, and when the plot is based almost solely on romance, that’s what you get. Lots and lots of character interaction. Maybe it’s as simple as that. I don’t know.

Whatever reason I can watch it, though, I’m glad I did. If you like that sort of thing, you should check it out too, okay?

July 19, 2012

Business Suits and Anime Ladies

Hi, blog! Let’s just pretend it hasn’t been like a week, yeah?

Last night I started watching this anime called Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne on Netflix on a whim. I don’t know what I think of it yet. There’s so much sex it in, naked breasts every two seconds, and the whole thing often devolves into fairly graphic (to the point I have to look away) torture porn quite often, with the main character being maimed and injured in really horrific ways. At the same time, it’s kind of mystery-oriented, and the main character SEEMS like a good female character I can get behind? Though I’m still holding out judgement. Maybe I just like her because she wears her sexuality in a not bullshit way, even when she’s fucking guys and girls all the time. Maybe I’m being pandered to. It’s also an hour long anime show, which is weird, but I’m liking the longer format. It’s also a period piece set in the 90’s for no reason, so everyone has pagers and stuff. I want to know why they made that decision. I’m drawn to watch more, so I will. We’ll see what I think in the end.

Anyway, the main character, Rin, is an anime lady, so she has gigantic boobs, but most of the time she wears a suit, vest, tie setup that’s very masculine and binds her chest (Not like, to the point of her looking flat-chested, because gigantic anime boobs, but making her much more androgynous). She’s got like cufflinks, the whole works.

I like that look. I like it quite a bit. I think it’s incredibly sexy. I mean, I’ve always had relationships with more feminine ladies, probably because I’m pretty masculine, and those sorts of girls are lovely, but I’ve always been attracted to a more masculine, powerful woman too… I guess because that’s what I wanted to be. I kind of love anything that blends or breaks those kind of boundaries because of my past.

The point is, I wish I could be that badass sexy lady in a suit like that, but I’d probably just look like a guy, instead of a badass lady in a suit. Even if I found one cut in such a way that that didn’t happen, it’s likely it wouldn’t fit me: it’s impossible to find shit with long sleeves that actually can deal with my long arms. It’s probably a lost cause.

I don’t know. It’s weird that now that I am me I kind of want to embrace my most masculine aspects more. Now that I’m outwardly correct, I guess I no longer feel that constant pressure to hide that stuff so I don’t come off too manly or whatever. Or maybe I’m just more comfortable in general.

I really don’t know. Anyway, that’s a rant. Later, everyone.

March 6, 2012

A Thing I Watched Because Of A Banner Ad, Proving I Am Easy To Convince In Some Areas.

I watched an anime and it was called Princess Jellyfish, and it was certainly a thing.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the show, but most of it basically comes from me being me, which I’ll talk about in a little bit. In general, though, the story of this cross-dressing, fashion-minded dude breaking into the lives of a bunch of overwhelmingly geeky girls was pretty fun!
It felt, in many ways, a bit rushed, which I assume was because of limited episode time. After all, they really set up this “problem” for everyone to solve and then it just kind of disappears in the last episode with very little to no actual actions of the characters causing it. That’s not really good storytelling, but it’s the kind of thing you do when you try to create a short show from a series that’s still ongoing, which was probably the case when this was made.
I don’t think that took away much from its charm, though. While many of the cast of geeks were a bit… one note and jokey, as to be expected from background characters, they did a great job of making fairly realistic geeky people for the ones that were focused on. The main character, Tsukimi, is fairly well rounded, to be fair. She has her passions and her problems, and for the most part, the show sells them, which really helps. You really kind of understand where her phobias come from, whereas with the background jokey people, it’s just kind of part of the joke “ubergeek” persona. She’s likable, and you want her to get into a happy relationship and become successful instead of being stuck in this apartment. Similarly, I feel like, by the end of it, the landlady’s daughter, Chieko, is really fairly well fleshed out. You really get to see into her motivations, of trying to put together a family in this place and keep everyone together, as well as just looking out for the general well-being of everyone. For a support character, I really buy her.
Similarly, I really kind of buy Mr. Hipster Main Male Lead, Kuranosuke. I feel like they explain why he enjoys crossdressing in a way that doesn’t necessarily make him a stereotype: just part of who he is. I completely buy why he ends up connecting with Tsukimi and everyone and wanting to hang around them, as he’s mostly lead a life of appearances and not being genuine up until that point. He’s kind of unlikable in a lot of ways, but he’s also very understandable. You don’t root for him, perse, but you know he’s going to end up with Tsukimi and that will be fantastic for her and nice for him and everything will work out well.

Basically, it’s got all the elements of a good comedy romance, and it does it all pretty well. If that sounds fun, this is probably worth giving a view to. It’s not my favorite thing ever, but I really enjoyed myself.

However, the show also really upset me for silly reasons that probably wouldn’t bother anyone else.

Crossdressers are really nothing new in anime. They’re all over the place. But never have I really watched a show where you saw so much of the crossdresser getting ready. I mean, it works for the show. It keeps you reminded that this character is a dude, and though he enjoys himself, he still identifies as male, which is useful and does define his character. But it is a process for him. A realistic process, because he wants to pass, not just be a drag queen or whatnot.
I found myself watching this, and just being overwhelmed with both a mix of jealousy (“This fictional guy passes so easily and everyone thinks he’s such a sexy girl and here I am, a real woman, being all stupid.”) and shaken confidence in how I’m perceived (“He’s doing a lot of what I do every morning to get ready, people must think I’m like him, fuck, nobody believes I’m me, I am fucked.”). I know these thoughts are BEYOND STUPID, because they’re pretty stupid, but I found myself unable to lose them while watching the show. It really kind of hindered my enjoyment of it, because while it was fun, and I could see it was fun, I was also in a kind of funk from this sort of stupid shit. Which sucked.

However, if you’re not me, you probably won’t have that problem, and it’ll be a fine thing to view. So.

September 20, 2011

I Do Think The Theme Song Lyrics Are Kind Of Stupidly Sexist, Though.

Usagi Drop is a lovely show.

For whatever reason I have been following a lot of anime lately. Usagi Drop is one of them.
It gets me every damn time.

I swear, an episode of this show does not end without me tearing up a bit. You can just feel the love radiating from these characters. It’s awesome. Daikichi is every bit as bumbling as you’d expect an older, career oriented dude to be who is suddenly a father. However, he has so much fucking heart. He dived into this thing head-first because he couldn’t stand to see this girl ostracized and hated, and fell in love with her immediately. It’s touching, and most of the big problems in the show are incredibly mundane. “Oh shit, I need to find a school? How do I even do that?” “Oh shit, I need to pick up Rin after school but my job requires me to stay and do overtime often.” “Oh shit, Rin is getting sick, how can I help her?” These issues are everyday, but they are harrowing. They’re tough, and the show shows exactly how they are tough. He makes difficult decisions, but the right ones. Things happen in a fantastic way. I love it. It makes me so jealous as someone who tries to write sometimes. I always feel like I completely fail at making those conflicts seem like conflicts. I feel like I can’t write a story based around that kind of action. It makes me jealous of shows like this.

Rin, too, seems to be really realistic to her character background. She was raised before having to do a lot alone. She was raised with her father, so she doesn’t think of Daikichi like that, although he clearly is. It just works. She’s adorable and also portrayed deeply. It’s nice.

Sure, there are some elements of the show that frustrate me. Daikichi not just getting up the nerve to ask the single mom he is clearly completely into on a date really bothers me, for instance. Maybe this is just a thing in general, where it’s easy to know what to do in a relationship outside it? I don’t know. Fucking ask her already! Gah.

But seriously, every moment filled with heart in this show makes me want to cry. I think that says something about my want to be a mother and have kids. Heh, maybe I’m not as good at hiding it and burying it as I thought. I’ve tried very hard to rid myself of that for a long time, since I can’t have kids outside of adoption and I hear that’s super hard to make happen for people like me. I certainly don’t think I want any children for awhile now anyway. Too much living my life as me I have to catch up on first. But I guess that’s still a want of mine. Somewhere, deep down. Heh, I bet when I become an aunt (which I am to believe is in my future some years from now) that sort of thing is going to come back in full force, and I am going to want a kid so badly! But for now, it gets to surface a little in teary smiles when I watch a silly show. I guess that’s alright.

September 17, 2011

Welcome to Rock ‘n Roll Fight.

Happy Pony Day!
Let me talk about Penguins.

I’ve been watching Mawaru Penguindrum, as I said yesterday. But now I’m caught up. (Up through Episode 10. I think that’s caught up.)
I am loving this show.

If there’s one thing I really like about it, though, I suppose it’s how grounded it feels. The show can border on extremely silly, and there are many completely surreal and unrealistic elements to the show, like the silly transformation sequence I showed last time, and this lady who seems to be assassinating people’s memories with some sort of slingshot with a laser sight. But it never feels unreal. All the characters feel like actual people who could exist, reacting to things appropriately, even when they’re a little crazy. It feels stupid to me that I feel the need to point this out every time I notice it in an anime, but it’s honestly just rare. Anime tends to use so many stock characters and stereotypes. It’s so very nice when a show doesn’t. It shows that anime with good writing is just damn good television.

The show has also just flat-out shocked me several times so far. Ringo’s character has just overwhelmed me with how far she is willing to go. To the point of me yelling “OH FUCK!” at the screen. I’m proud of the show for going there. I’m proud of the show for letting a character with some believable and understandable motivations also be so batshit insane and uncaring. I like her, despite of how horrible she is. I’m interesting what latest plot twist will mean to her character going forward.

One more thing I appreciate: the show seems to be leaving nothing on the table. When recent reveal about a background element of many episodes being important to Himari’s past came about, I was all like “Ooooh. Good job.” It really completely spun her character about: She can’t go ANYWHERE without being reminded of her life’s failures. All intense. Little elements or things that seem throwaway keep coming back in bigger and more important ways. It’s nice, because it makes the show feel very planned, which makes me confident that the narrative will continue and end as good as it’s going.

There is one thing I don’t like, though: the Penguins themselves. I just don’t find them working as comic relief, which the show seems to want to use them as, and they’re just kind of stupid. They don’t seem to be doing too much, plot-wise, now. Maybe that will change. Probably will. But for once, the random dose of cute doesn’t seem to be doing the show any favors at all. If I had to pick a weakness, that’s it.

Anyway, I am going to keep following this. Because it’s awesome. So I wrote some thoughts about it. The end.

August 29, 2011

I Am Also Unsure What Prunus Refers To.

I don’t have a separate tag for manga, so I guess anime will do. Does anyone care about my tags anyway? Who knows.

Anyway, Mightyblue on Talking Time mentioned this manga called Prunus Girl. His short description was “sort of a romance/slice of life between a guy and a trans/crossdressing guy without being overbearing or stereotypey about it.” Because I am incredibly predictable (but I mean seriously, let’s face it. We all like reading stories about ourselves, right? Is it really weird that I want to read a romance that involves a transgendered person?) that was more than enough to make me check it out. I hadn’t read any manga in a long while, so why not?

I really don’t know what to think about it. I don’t think it’s really all that great, but at the same time I read the majority of the comic in one non-stop sitting, so it kept me engaged on some level. Though not in the way it seems to engage random people talking about it on the internet, if Google searches are any indication. It seems to be a lot of debating if Aikawa, the transgendered character, is really male or female. He certainly teases about that fact a lot during the comic, but the fact remains: he tells everyone he’s male. Thus, he’s male. The fact that he’s very feminine and always wears female clothes doesn’t really change that. In any case, I could really give a shit about that sort of thing, though I would feel a bit disappointed if they finally got together and Aikawa WAS physically female, AND just shed being a man completely. It would sort of make Maki’s character arc of coming to terms with his feelings for a guy a really fucking moot point, and that’s all the story really has going for it. I guess Aikawa could be physically female, but a transsexual man, without me feeling cheated in that way, but goodness, I don’t know if this author could even attempt to handle something like that in an intelligent manner. But we’ll get to that later. Point is, Aikawa is a man and it’s dumb to debate it.

Even saying all that, though, I must admit I don’t get Aikawa much at all. I don’t understand why you’d go through all the trouble to look female (and it is a fucking lot of trouble) and then tell everyone you’re male. Granted, this is because I’m me, trying desperately to look female but still keep my look. He passes with ease, and I’m jealous and shocked he kind of throws it away constantly. I find it difficult to push through that and understand the whys behind what he does. Then again, maybe there’s nothing to break through and see. Maybe the whole thing is being played for laughs and that’s all I’m supposed to take away. But there’s hints of depth in the characters and the scenario, so I don’t want to believe that.

In general, the comic feels like it’s being created without a plan, though, which is a shame. There’s a lot of genuine drama you could bring out of this scenario (not necessarily doom and gloom persecution stuff, but more the fact that this DOES complicate a relationship. You could explore that. That’s one of the things Wandering Son does so well.) and a lot of it is left on the table so that the story can include more super generic romantic comedy antics. There are too many scenes where something is set up that would work with any romantic comedy couple, but not with this one because of the whole transgendered thing. But the problems with it are literally written off in a throwaway panel of “I don’t care, let’s do it anyway,” which really hurts the whole thing. The biggest example of this was a water gun fight, where one team was trying to get Aikawa’s white shirt wet so they could see his breasts. But he’s a guy, and the horny guys trying to do this know it. But they just say, “Eh, I still want to,” and they’re off. It’s like the author had a silly idea, realized it wouldn’t work, but just did it anyway. I’m not necessarily against wacky romantic comedy happenstances, but at least understand your own gimmick, author.

It also just falls into that trap that bothers me more and more when I read this sort of “romantic comedy genre” stuff. The “tension” supposedly leaves if the main characters actually get together. But it’s stupid they don’t. I kind of felt this in Sasameki Koto, but that was more feeling like characters were stupid for not just being honest, as opposed to stupid for them not being together. A bit different. In Prunus Girl, it was them basically going on dates, spending all their time together, and so on, but Maki won’t call it dating because that would “ruin” things. It’s so stupid. They like even go on a fake date for shenanigans at one point, and Maki notes that THIS IS WHAT THEY NORMALLY DO WHEN THEY’RE TOGETHER. THEY NORMALLY GO ON DATES. But he won’t call it that, noooo. It’s such an artificial thing. It keeps the characters from growing because they are stunted by this stupid decision to keep this “tension” going between them. There’s plenty of tension to be found if they START dating! Use writing! Bleh.

Anyway, yeah. Can’t recommend this one. There’s no planning to it, no real overall arc to be found here. I suppose I have read worse manga (yeah, yeah, I have) but still. There’s probably a better way to spend your time.

August 12, 2011

I think there was like, three pieces of music total in the show, too.

With no games to play and plenty of need to distract myself, over the past few days, other than playing in the new Shin-Megami-Tensei-Themed Mafia game and playing fucking Tiny Tower, I watched all of Sasameki Koto. I’m not sure why I did this. I watched the first couple episodes back when it was first airing, and I found it kind of depressing and frustrating. But it stuck with me, I kept thinking of going back to it, and this week I found myself just watching it all.

What a stupid show.

I mean, okay, obviously there are some things I liked about it or I wouldn’t have kept watching. For example, the yuri-lover Asuza, who claimed she wasn’t a lesbian, was an interesting and sadly realistic character, and Sumi trying to deal with her without hurting her was a real decent sort of conflict. The idea of trying to take care of her, while trying to protect the identity of Kazama’s brother, and that causing Sumi and Kazama to drift apart a bit? Fantastic idea for a conflict.

Of course, the problem is that Sumi and Kazama aren’t a couple, because the show is STUPID.

Maybe this is a Japanese thing, and is something about how Japanese lesbians stereotypically act. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand it. But for goodness sake, Sumi and Kazama joined a LESBIAN CLUB together, and Sumi still can’t admit she’s gay, much less that she likes Kazama? Like, for a little while at the beginning, I get it, right? Sumi is worried about rejection because the type of women Kazama lusts over aren’t like her. I get it. But with all the shit going on in this show, when they’re laying together, right next to each other, talking about how Sumi is always going to be there for Kazama, and you still don’t say, “You know, I’m gay, and I really love you.” Fuck. That. It’s extra sad that a lot of the conflicts in the later part of the show would be more sensical if they WERE dating. With them just being friends, it seems really ridiculous that some of this stuff is a problem. If they were a couple, not only do I get it, but I also empathize with a lot of it, such as the whole “I’ll call you when I get there,” and then get no phone call for a day or two. For a friendship, Kazama seems to be way the fuck overreacting. If they were dating, her worry might make more sense.

I also wish I knew what they were trying to do with the crossdresser character, Akemiya. It’s like they couldn’t decide if he was transgendered or not. His original motivation was to date Sumi, which is really a ridiculous premise to go to such lengths to crossdress, because then you’ll convince the lesbian to date you and of course she won’t be disappointed when you’re male, right? (Also, literally EVERYONE deduces that Sumi is gay but Kazama, by the way, because she is really clearly obsessed with fucking Kazama, going into constant daydreams about it all the damn time, which everyone notices. Of course, she won’t just say it! Blerarg!) Sometimes he’s being forced and he “complains,” sometimes he seems completely, completely into it and enjoys it, and then near the end, he wants to prove himself to be “a man,” when before he was worried about his clothes not being cute enough and shit. It would be different if he just didn’t know how to deal with his attraction to doing it, or something of that nature, but his character just comes off as… well… whatever they decided for him to be at that moment. Again, obviously some personal bias makes me want him treated well as a character, but dammit… when you can have something as amazingly well done as Hourou Musuko out there, it’s hard not to demand everyone treat that sort of thing with respect and actual character building.

Anyway, yeah. It’s a silly show. It tugs at heartstrings a few times, but man, there are so many annoying bits! Just fuck already, dammit! Surely all your lesbian friends are! But yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it.

June 3, 2011

Everyday, Ordinary Life Needs More Side Characters

I’ve been watching Nichijou because I don’t like doing useful things like catching up on Doctor Who or getting work done. It’s got the sort of comedy I enjoy, certainly. It’s very surreal a lot of the time. I mean, you saw when I linked the video of the principal suplexing the deer, right? (I hope so, as I have found that they have gotten that video pulled from Youtube!) That’s pretty normal for the show.

I really don’t understand the general composition of the show, though.

Like, okay, I understand that the series is based off of a series of 4-panel strips: basically funny papers stuff. I mean, Azumanga was as well, so that’s not weird. However, the scope of this show is just all over the place. There are two “main” sets of characters, and then side characters of those two main sets that sometimes get screen time, and then a bunch of completely random little skits only tangentially related to those. For example, every so often the show will show some of “Helvetica Standard,” which is a comic that the girl in the Igo Soccer Club reads, which is a barely related set of skits to the main set of three girls in high school. It’s this incredible drilling-down into these side-side-side characters that really gets me. It’s clear that neither of the two main sets of protagonists are fully mined for humor yet (Hell, I feel like Nano, the Professor, and Sakamoto-san could easily carry an entire show all by themselves) and, frankly, going after my specific example, I feel like the Igo Soccer Club really has more room for funny jokes as well. I just don’t get the narrative need to go one deeper.

All the other random shit, like the jump-rope and rock-paper-scissors, well, they’re perfectly fine.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I tend to expect even my humor shows to hinge on their characters, and Nichijou really does not. It does literally whatever stupid thing the writers thought of at the time, and if they thought of something with their stock group of characters, fantastic, and if not, they slot them into the joke if they can or otherwise leave them behind. I guess on one hand, that’s kind of bold, as not having recognizable elements that make up your show makes it less marketable.


Either way, I’ve enjoyed the first, what, 9 episodes enough to watch the entire season at this point. It’s just certainly not how I would have put a show together. Then again, they aren’t asking me to script any anime comedy shows, so maybe there’s a reason for that.

February 28, 2011

Make A Contract With Me.

Instead of the vast amounts of entertaining and uplifting television that will make me laugh and smile, I have, instead, been watching Puella Magi Madoka Magicka.

I think about to when I would buy so much manga, and I was so into the animes and the various things that are just like them. I think about now, when I can barely make myself consume any media that isn’t a video game, and have very little interest in most of what comes out of Japan, anime-wise. Still, occasionally I pick up on something that really grabs my interest, and I watch it, and I like it. Lesbian Schoolgirls playing Mahjong was one of those things that, the moment I heard about it, I had to give it a view, and got totally caught up in dramatic Mahjong action. Zetsubou Sensei also caused me to check it out, and I enjoyed it’s sense of humor.
Now, a random twitter message along the lines of “Madoka Magicka is what the Persona anime should have been like” was enough to make me check it out. I’m glad I did.

The show starts out like any other magical girl show. In fact, it leans on the tropes very heavily. Here’s the opening. On first glance, nothing really seems wrong with this opening, and the show begins, and things are very, very stereotypical. You have a vision of the future, much like the beginning of Cardcaptor Sakura, and then into Madoka’s normal life, which is very normal.
Then a mysterious transfer student pulls Madoka aside and lets her know that, if she tries to be more than what she is, she will die, everyone close to her will die in the most painful way possible, everything she loves will be crushed, and everything will be gone.
Then it goes back to normal.
Eventually there is a fight with an interesting art style, and soon we are at the end of the episode, and we are greeted with something like this.
Then you go back, and you re-look at that opening, and you see how often Madoka is crying, running in terror, or completely depressed in it.

This show is incredibly dark. No punches are ever pulled. When things go bad, they fucking go BAD, and there are consequences for actions taken. Life-changing consequences.

I’m a huge fan of the previously mentioned Cardcaptor Sakura. I love it dearly, with no restraint. But this show is such a counterpoint to the constantly optimistic world of Cardcaptor Sakura. It uses your expectations for a magical girl show to its advantage, and even after it’s used up that advantage, it constantly twists the knife when you think it can’t get any worse. Yet, even through all this, none of it seems unfair. In many ways, the characters are being tortured, but in many ways, while they are good people and bad things are happening to them, it is their character flaws which is ultimately the cause of their downfall.

At the same time as all this is going on, the show is constantly using varied and very beautiful art style changes to denote moods and heighten the experience. Battles take place in a sort of alternate dimension, and the show takes advantage of this to throw all sorts of crazy stuff at you to see. It’s awesome.

The show is about 8 episodes in, but I am completely hooked. It’s depressing as fuck, of course, but it’s so well done. Some people are down on it a bit, and say that the overall story arc is not interesting. It is, maybe, slightly weak, as it’s depending on fairly weak magical girl plots as premises. However, the characters are, of course, what is drawing me in. These characters, though perhaps seeming cliche on the surface, constantly surprise with their depth, and I want to see what happens to them, even if they die horrible, gruesome deaths. I’m in this for the long haul. You might want to join in too.

October 30, 2010

Hip and Horrible, Good and Bad, Panty and Stocking

I find that, when I describe many things I like to Cara and Cole, who have known me for less time and just “get” my sense of taste less, I describe them as being “wonderfully terrible.” This can mean a variety of things, of course. The “wonderfully terrible” of Deadly Premonition, for example, is completely different than, say, the “wonderfully terrible” of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, the anime I am currently following.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is kind of a Japanese love letter to the more “adult” shows on Cartoon Network. Its art style is reminiscent of things like Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls, while the humor is rude, crude, and attempting to push the envelope of taste. Watching it is an experience not unlike watching the original programming on Adult Swim for the first time back in the day. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and it was awesome, but sometimes it just doesn’t know where to stop, and follows through with some terrible ideas.

Some examples, I suppose, would be useful. Episode where Panty and Stocking are fighting a sentient shit blob that’s eating people through toilets? Kind of eh, but fine. Episode where Panty and Stocking are fighting a ghost car while constantly making very blatant jokes about premature ejaculation? Yeah, it fits, it’s fun, and it makes you smile the whole time. Episode where they’re fighting the ghosts of dead sperm, which is between very, very long and intensely drawn “storm the beach” scenes starring sperm, with a lovingly drawn vagina on screen… pretty stupid, not funny, and annoying. It’s this kind of random swings in quality that remind me of Adult Swim, actually. Most of their shows, besides pure gold like Venture Brothers, are like this. Some episodes are hilarious, and push the envelope in novel ways, while others have stepped completely across the line and refuse to realize it, creating something intensely stupid and insulting to view. Panty and Stocking is exactly this way.

However, like most shows on Adult Swim, I keep watching because, when the show is on, it is ON. It’s very funny and entertaining when it’s doing things right. I mean, just take a look at this classy scene. It made me laugh my ass off the first time I saw it. It’s a great parody of many a magical girl transformation sequence and, what’s more, it completely fits the characters. There are tons of moments like this. It works. This is why I’m going to continue to watch the show.

There’s still plenty of season left, of course, but I’m going to see this series out until the end. I mean, it’s no lesbian mah jong, but it’s pretty solid, and completely worth your time. (Hey, there’s another show that’s “wonderfully terrible.” See? I like that stuff.)