Undercover Lover

The toughest part about each season is having to make up the WatchRanking chart each week, because so many shows are so many ways of good, and it’s hard to assign a numerical value to them. Despite all that, the other half of premieres rolled past, and here is your abridged view on some real gems this season. I did not have access to my system, so I had to pilfer some screenshots from elsewhere on the internet, so hat tip to Random Curiosity for that, who also reviewed those series too, if you’re interested in multiple angles.

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Our Lady of the Bazooka

Back again in what will likely be the last post of the year unless I squeak one in before. Lot of things to cover, so let’s not waste your time.

I mean seriously, she HAD to have known that shit. What a Haruhi.

You're a sly one... Ya-zor-a~

After a rabble-rousing eleventh episode of Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai we finally figure out who his childhood friend really was. What? You knew already? I mean, they totally didn’t give it away several episodes ago? Well what the fuck man, where was I? Surely I jest, I knew this too, however I was unprepared for her to Haruhi her hair to fit the part. Haruhi is a verb now. FYI. Not sure how this show is going to end, but frankly, I hope it gets more. I’ve certainly enjoyed every episode.

*drums*

Maybe you should have been Sixth and been facing the other way.

The odd thing about Mirai Nikki is when it tries to be funny in a serious manner, it’s rather terrible in its execution. But that is easily forgivable in Yuno’s crazy-ass methods of shooting first, dragging Yuuki, and asking questions later. Now there is some temporary truce with Ninth, and I see her sticking around for awhile in this show, at least until the end where Yuuki kills everyone, becomes God, and brings everyone back. Cause you know, that’s how they roll. Maybe.

RIDE THE LIGHTNING

BATTLE NUN

Things continue to heat up in Shakugan no Shana Final as Shana and Co. head into the gate in search of Darth Yuuji and his followers, while Sophie and the army of Flame Haze continue to mount their attack on the castle. Fortunately, we get to see her in action quickly as she removes Decaberia from action before he could take out their main force, but realizes quickly the enemy reinforcements they thought would be late to the party, show up early. Meanwhile, Keisaku and Margery share an intimate (read: LEVEL UP) moment before we see her get ready to get back in action soon, which is awesome because the party was missing its Druid. I moved Shana up in the ranks because rightfully, this shit is getting good, the dull wait was worth it.

INNOVATOR!

I LOVE YOU~ I TRUST YOU~ whoops, wrong show

Gundam AGE geared up and down as the crew handed the UE another loss, but at the hands of losing Don Boyage and many of his forces. Still, enough data was gathered for the AGE system to make a speed version of the Gundam and put it on par with the suit that faced off against Flit, likely piloted by Decil Galette. The ship docks at another colony to meet the man who would be helping coordinate the attack on the UE nest. Flit meets Yurin again, whom was adopted by the man, but was short lived when Flit and the crew had to leave again. I suspect she, like Decil, have some sort of Coordinator/Newtype/Innovator power that allows them to sense their surroundings, and Flit likely as well. Still, I’m ever curious how this show will progress, because of the character listings on MAL for his son and grandson. I assume there will be timeskips at some point.

I mean seriously. Who doesn't like kittens?

Naww dog, that ain't true... actually yeah it is.

Working continues the crazy adventures at Wagnaria with more Inami-style hijinks, this time centered around her text conversations with Takanashi. Clearly kittens make for a good ice-breaker, much to Izumi’s disarray, as she doesn’t want him to leave so he can continue taking care of her. Also, Yamada tries to claim she can take care of herself, but that is laughable at best. The manager tries to cross-dress for snacks, but her tits do not allow for it, and Soma almost gets Inami-PAUNCH’ed, but Sato intercepts it with Yamada’s bear. Just another day at work.

Everyone is clapping for you. In your head. They're actually dead.

Congratulations, Shinji

I’ve read a lot of Twitter and blog traffic and most folks don’t like Guilty Crown. I’m going to have to be that guy who begs to differ, in a couple ways. I’ll start off by saying that it is not Ghost in the Shell: Stand Along Complex. Not even close. There are similar plot elements, but the characters are too flimsy and one-dimensional to compare to the fuckwin awesomesauce that is GitS:SAC. To compare it to Code Geass, is a better comparison, but still not quite the mark. CG had better characters that often times would be unpredictable and change the story with it. Guilty Crown has been fairly predictable from the start, and even with it’s latest TWEEST involving the stone that started it all, I can only imagine this is going to bump Shu in the direction he should have been going from the start. Despite all that, I actually am enjoying this show and what its worth, despite the criticism.

I CAN SPEAK FOREVER

I CAN SEE FOREVER

I often forget to watch UN-GO because I keep forgetting to add it to my torrent bookmarks, so it ends up being the last thing to watch, and after you watch 10 other shows, fatigue sets in and I end up saving them for another day. Despite all that, it is a fantastic if not puzzling show at times just trying to follow what is going on. The introduction of another supernatural character and its handler kinda threw me for a loop, but it’s to be expected. In a way, this show reminds me a lot of last season’s Dantalian no Shoka in many ways. Hopefully it doesn’t mimic the same though.

Don't know if want

Can you put this pill up her ass? No? I'll do it.

What makes a show like Ben-To hard to rank each week is that it is fantastic, but there is so much fantastic happening ahead of it. Rather annoying. After the twins beat the Ice Witch last week, she ends up getting sick from the ordeal and misses class, while Satou tries to help care for her. They agree to get her well enough for Grilled Eel at the local store where she plans to challenge the twins to a rematch, only to make herself sicker from leaving the A/C on. Meanwhile Kaneshiro finds out what really creamed the twins three years ago and races back to warn them of it occuring again, as he steps off a train in the final scene of the episode.

Those MIT boys

Me either

Meat, snow, and the secret of Chizuru’s power are on the docket for this week’s Ika Musume and they were pretty solid episodes. I actually enjoyed the snow episode the most, finding it hilarious that they would combat the hot with the snow, and the snow with the hot. Also Ika in winter clothes was rather humorous. I’m surprised Cindy was surprised though at the display, being the head of the nerds and all.

FOR THE PLOT

You do? You certainly did a half-hearted job of unzipping your jacket there.

Finally, on the bottom, as usual, is Maken-ki. I’m afraid introducing the “big bad” in the last episode is just poor taste for a show that had a sliver of promise as a proper show, but then I discarded the notion of it having a plot and watched it for the fanservice from the second episode. My hope though is it gets a DVD/BD release and remove some of those goddamn sun rays and blurred lines so I enjoy my tits and ass proper. Jesus Japan, have some respect!

Last episodes of the season are this week or next week, depending on the holiday schedule. Regardless I will probably not have another post up until either next week, or the week after into 2012, depending on how shit stacks. I have this week off from work though, so I will be doing the Winter 2011/2012 Preview Chart soon. A few shows from this season carry over, so I should have a fairly full roster again next season.

The beat goes on.

Master and Student

With the holidays and other things work and home I didn’t get to watching two weeks worth of anime until this weekend, and even then I crammed it into the evenings after helping out with moving office furniture. But fear not, I got your back, everything covered here except UN-GO, which I’ll get to tomorrow, and this week’s Ben-to and Gundam AGE, but I’ll recap the previous. Going in random order:

About damn time. It's go time.

Guess who's back. Back again. Shana's back. Guess you're dead.

The wait is over for those of us impatient through the story building, Shakugan no Shana Final heats up as Wilhelmia and Co. find the secret sneak attack into Seireiden with the goal of collapsing the barrier around the castle, destroying the portal, and rescuing Shana. This is the first real action scene for Khamsin Nbh’w, who was seen in the first season, along with Rebecca Reed. Fortunately, Shana’s strong will revives the sword and the spirit within to return to her and regain her powers. About fucking time. Let’s rip some shit up and set Darth Yuji vs. Shana into motion.

and not all over the wall

Well at least he got to the bed.

Haganai continues to be the best show this season, haters gonna hate. Every scene between Meat and Kukuku is adorable and priceless, and Rika is my idea of fun. A bit disappointed in no Yozora swimsuit edition for the pool episode, but perhaps the beach will nullify that.

Never trust the head chef

Working is just a barrel of non-stop awesome, seriously, with Yachiyro and the cell phone, Yamada doing Yamada things, Inami, and poor Popura, it’s never a dull moment at Wagnaria. Ever.

That Sanae.

...were set up to stalk Ika-chan? Yeuuuuuuuup.

Ika Musume squiddin’ around, what would she do without her shrimp? For that matter, what would Sanae do without her Ika? Probably molest other little girls.

Or just pierce the Martian Successors. Wait...

PIERCE THE HEAVENS

As I mentioned before yesterday, Gundam AGE plays off to me like an interchangeable model with a billion different parts. We all know Gundam exists to print money for Bandai, in models, and no doubt the base Gundam will be sold with lots of snap-on parts for it sold separately. Essentially Gundam has become Figma, and I’m not sure if I like that. That said though, the series has gotten pretty good, even if they’re still up to no major plot point, other than Beardsly McTurban striking backroom deals for warships to take on his foes. Emily also wasn’t a complete cunt, but that will no doubt happen when Flit tells her he is staying to fight. She’ll join the army anyway, and whatshisname will leave like that asshole from SEED did at the first sign of trouble.

Hide yo kids hie yo wife

Rule #1 - Don't Piss Off Yuno

Mirai Nikki is pure win, from the action to motherfucking creepy Yuno and her super-yandere with Yuuki. Seriously, she’ll kill children to keep him safe, and it’s fucking fantastic. That said though, I’m surprised they censored the knife in the kid, presumably because it was a kid she killed, but they also censored the end of the girl’s arm in the last episode. Crazy Japan. The BD/DVDs will probably be awesome. If you aren’t watching this show, you should.

Crazy literary people

Oh it's coming alright. Through your panties.

Ben-To stalls the fighting to introduce Kyo and Kyo, twin sisters with different silver hair styles. They apparently have taken an interest in The Ice Witch, and attempt to infiltrate a hospital they thought she was staying at, but it turns out to be Satou recovering from a fall he took to save his Sega Saturn. They provoke him in a way only sexy nurses can before realizing their error, after he shows his title off, and hypes up Oshiroi to write more of her yaoi about him. Such a good show, can’t wait to watch the latest tomorrow.

I'd undertake them.

That'ta boy Shu, eyes down there. Like a man.

I have to admit, Guilty Crown has turned out much better than I expected, almost a guilty pleasure to watch, even if it’s starting to settle into a monster-of-the-week format, the different awkward situations Shu and Inori can get into are worth the ticket price. The student council prez isn’t half bad either, although at first glance, I almost thought it was Gai in drag.

Cool Story Bro.

I watch Maken-ki for the plot.

Honestly, if anyone is watching Maken-ki because it’s an actual story with good characters, you best be joking son. It’s tits, tits, and more tits, and when they think you haven’t had enough tits, they introduce new character with tits to add to the other characters with tits. They’ve got more tits to give you on this show than you’ll see at a concert in a Buick with a fucking monkey. But seriously, is Tate and Mai Takaru and Haruko going to fuck, or what?

I’m pretty bad at keeping regular updates and updating the stuff on here, more so around the holidays, so expect updates to be sporadic over the next few weeks until the new year. The Winter 2011/2012 lineup should be starting to form or be final soon, so expect a preview of what I’ll be watching, which will no doubt be the final season of Zero no Tsukaima.

Just a Different Kind of Love

As we start to settle into the coming winter months of the season, by now I think the subs are smoothing out and the weeks are rolling by. Some good stuff and some okay stuff. Here is the breakdown for the week.

First off, I have enough data now to update the the weaboo wall with this season’s entries. Be sure to check that out.

iknowthatfeel.jpg

When you realize how many times you facepalm behind a speaking woman, this makes sense

I might be the only animu blogger to say this, but I quite like Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, even if it’s heading slowly into harem territory. The male MC isn’t a complete sod, but the rivalry between Yozora and “Meat” is just incredible. It has a visual style rather like Denpa Otoko but character interactions from just about everything else. This episode was just as good, including how they set up some kinda fun little flashback that connects the main characters. Go on.

Sure as hell ain't going through no middle earth

OH GOD IT'S THE EYE OF SAURON

Mirai Nikki is just plain weird and creepy, but it’s one of the most thrilling shows this season in my opinion. I knew what to expect a bit from the OVA, but they even captured Nina Wang’s signiture hairstyle well in Uryuu Minene, the crazy terrorist bomber whose diary is the “Escape Diary”. But the obvious outcome of this episode, is that Yuno is a stalking psychotic bitch with definite ulterior motives against Yukiteru. Sounds like the kinda girl I know one person might enjoy…

The Takanashi's seem to have mastered control over Popura

Yachiyo’s strange relationship with Kyouko is the focus of this episode, as they run into Otoo’s long-lost wife only to lose her again, while Nazuna Takanashi seems to have figured out how to control Popura and Yamada through the power of praise. Just another fun-filled day at Wagnaria.

The sword is a girl too, jesus

You have a fucking sword man, don't look like an idiot

I realize I didn’t do a full preview for Guilty Crown but I can’t be bothered to do that, so I’ll jump ahead. Honestly, despite several folks on my feed who might disagree, I am finding this show to be quite excellent. As excellent as the often compared UN-GO? Eh, I’ll leave that alone, but on it’s own, it has a very GitS kinda feel with a tablespoon of Code Geass, a teaspoon of any generic techie-type show, and something else I can’t put my immediate finger on. Still, it looks promising, and if they promise not to fuck it up, I’ll keep saying it’s good.

Oh yes. I wrote that.

Judging baking competitions and circuses behind him, Pierrot had a sex change and decided to be a detective sidekick. This is hisher story.

Caption aside, UN-GO is actually pretty good, and presents an interesting angle in the genre of “solving mysteries”. So far this year we’ve been treated to a variety of mystery-solving titans, from Victorique to Sherlock Shellingford, to Alice and more, but here we have a “Failed Detective” and his meta-morph sidekick whose special power borderlines Lelouch’s absolute obedience. Their mission? To really solve crimes that some four-eyes old man sitting in front of a monitor cannot. So really, it’s like the anti-thesis to Kamisama no Memo-chou with special powers.

Whoops, that phrase might be BANNED IN TOKYO

You reach for his joystick alright

Alright, let’s settle a few things down before I start. I am a Gunda/m/ man, so if you aren’t, you can skip this. For the rest of you, AGE isn’t doing anything new so far. You’ve got your Amuro, you’ve got your Nalah, and you’ve got your everyone else and Haro. Space colony. Invaded. Blows up. SEED started that way. Unknown aliens, probably will end up being exiled humans or some shit, Nadesico, check. Wait, Nadesico? Yeah, this is my single complaint about AGE, it simply does nothing to make Gundam any newer than the last ten series. When people say it’s a re-hashing simply for toy profit, they’re right.

That said though, “Loli Gundam” isn’t half bad, and it’s been pretty good out of th starting gate comparatively. It’s no 00, which sadly is one of the best modern Gundam series out there, but it can’t do any worse than SEED Destiny unless they replace the entire cast with Jesus Yamato and Mary-Sue Cylne and Mitsuo Fukuda takes the helm.

Or a slowdown.

It's gonna be a throwdown.

The one thing I kinda hoped Shakugan no Shana Final would do from the gate was wow us, you know, make the fact that we had to put up with numerous other JC STAFF projects, bad Rie-voiced clones, and constantly delays of this season by making it something worth watching, even for the first few episodes before they settle into some story and setting. But instead they just kinda present you with ten seconds of what you’ll see at the end to tease, and then backstory, blah blah, shit we already knew. If I wanted to read the book, I’d have by now, and honestly I should, but I don’t want to spoil what I am going to see. That said however, Yuji being back and squaring off against Shana, what is all of this about? Fuck I’m still confused about the Bal Masque shit, but I’ll roll with this.

Edit: It occurred to me after trading some words in saimoe chat today that I might be just impatient as they set the story up for the final hustle. This is true, I am being a bit impatient, and bookfags have told me that the fact Yuji leads Bal Masque and that shit gets real soon enough should be reason alone for me to watch, but what got me was that towards the end of each episode, they would tease you with the notion that something was about to go down in the opening minutes of the next episode, but then wind back up to building up again. When I say it’s like slow masturbation, I mean it, and I don’t know about you, but eventually when you can’t take it anymore, you flip on the good shit and go to town. I’m okay with building the story, but give me a little meat to sink into for more than thirty seconds to prove there is a reason I’m still going to name my first-born daughter Shana in the future.

My body is ready

The last thing you will see before death, is the gloss in her eyes

I was very impressed with this week’s Ika Musume as one of the shorts was about English, and how apparently everyone but Eiko can speak it. Now, usually when Japanese VA’s speak English it’s always either heavily accented, or broken Engrish-sounding mess, much like overzealous American teen girls trying to speak Japanese. But if Cyndi Campbell’s VA, Nabatame Hitomi, was speaking those parts, that sounded like flawless English, almost too good to be true. I’m inclined to find out more about that just for shits and giggles. Good show.

She's like a ninja. Nin-nin-nin...

Sneaky sneaky indeed

If it wasn’t for the many top-tier shows this season, Ben-To would be much higher, because it really is above expectations. Sure the subject matter is strange as hell, but when you think about it, if stores around here put food up for half-price you’d have to be quick to grab that shit before it’s gone, I’d probably fight for it. So in retrospect, nothing like a fighting-type to shake up the season roster.

Not really

Yeah, it's kind of a big deal

Honestly, Maken-ki started out well, and then dipped into a disappointing harem that I’m afraid not even the big breasts may save soon unless something changes. For one, the female MC is an overbearing sod who can’t stand the pervert, but isn’t exactly avoiding it by rooming with the poor fellow, the male MC is a powerless piece of garbage who just ogles the girls all day and whines about everything, and then there is hiw stupid chivalrous charade where he thinks he needs to protect the girl, and with the show’s overly pro-woman “WE’RE AWESOME” rhetoric, they render him completely unnecessary in this show. The solution? Dump him and continue the show with just the girls. Otherwise, have a guy beat one of the girls senseless and shove off this feminist bullshit. That is playing fair, right?

Finally, a short word on the latest “innovation” in subbing technology, 10bit. A lot of subbers are using it, and that’s fine. A long time ago I would talk about how it annoyed me that subbers pushed the h264 format on subbing because they acted like everyone should own good computers when the majority didn’t. This of course was probably 3-4 years ago, and by now, most have upgraded to dual-cores or better and have the power to render things at 1080p, so we’ve accepted it as the norm. I still find it annoying that my PS3 won’t play MKV files, that I still have to rely on XVIDs if I want to watch my shows on the couch in the living room, but eventually when I build a machine to hook up to that TV it won’t be a problem.

10bit kind of annoys me the same way, because while it is not a major upgrade in terms of format and such, it means I can’t just pick and choose between multiple subbers if I am going to store the show on disc later for viewing sometime, I have to make sure it will play on approximately whatever I have to play it with. Of course I’ve upgraded my CCCP and don’t plan to downgrade or all, but all it takes is for me to whip out some older computer or something without internet access in the mountains and be greeted with splotchy colors or someshit and rue the day anyone was born. I realize this is an extreme scenario, but I am a man of standards, and I just feel it’d be nice for the subbing scene to wrap around the same pole somewhat, though to their credit, it’s a whole lot better than a decade and some ago when the digital age first started. Thank god for CCCP and Nyaa Torrents, ya’ll got it easy today. To think of the days spent downloading A-E’s Angelic Layer from IRC bots during class. Wow, I’m old. That’s sad I can even write that.

Until next week, or after that. Or something.