Completed: Angel Beats! – Watch the Bathos Drip Forth Like the Petals From a Wild Crafted Rose

bathos n.- 1. An abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.
2. Insincere or grossly sentimental pathos

I’d say both definitions are fairly appropriate for Angel Beats – which isn’t a bad thing, by the way.

I’ve been looking forward to this show ever since I watched the first episode at the start of the season, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed – with the exception of some rocky moments (namely episode 4 and a lot of episode 5, which weren’t bad, just… rocky), I was impressed with every episode, and will come away from the series with vivid memories of events throughout. <- That sentence is about as much ‘review’ as I can give you, since I find this series hard  to talk about in a straightforward way. This post will be somewhat disorganized, but I hope you’ll bear with it.

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Amazing… This Is Getting Exciting!

For weeks now, the Aniblog Tourney has raged on. It’s been a great ride, rife with truly intense matches, and many of my brethren have fallen. However, I still stand, and intend to go the distance. The trouble is, I haven’t had a real match yet – all three of my opponents went down with almost no contest. I was beginning to wonder if I was getting a free ride…

…until now. For the next two matches, I finally have worthy opponents! That’s right, I said the next two matches – it’s not as if I’ll actually lose either match, but I’m excited to finally face a pair of blogs that I actually care about. Let me introduce them!

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Completed: B Gata H Kei – How To Make An Excellent Show With No Rewatch Value

(Note: I couldn’t decide how to title posts for shows that I finished which aren’t part of “Finish or Fail” series, and I didn’t want to call them “Reviews”, so I’m instituting the “Completed” title for them. Also, there will be spoilers, but they don’t really matter, and will probably sell you on the show anyway, haha.)

B Gata H Kei is rock solid – I have nothing negative to say about it. I was constantly impressed by it’s writing, which created a hilarious and believable romance that, for once, made real progress at a satisfying pace as the series continued. Every episode made me laugh, and the jokes struck me with their cleverness – often the punchline is a bit of music, a very quick cut-away, or a background detail, so that the joke doesn’t feel too obvious nor intrusive, but a bit of fun cleverly spliced into a continuing scene. The running gags stayed funny and didn’t get old, which is way more than I can say about most school anime with running jokes.

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Summer Season 2010 Anime Preview

It’s been a while since I did one of these. When I started this blog I did them rather seriously, and then I gradually made them sillier until I stopped altogether. This was mostly because I didn’t like most of the season previews I read, but the sensible thing to do would’ve been produce one that I did like so that people who feel the way I do have a preview post. I think that my wide knowledge of anime production and my very optimistic outlook on upcoming shows are something that the blogosphere is sparse on, so rather than whine about it, I should become the change that I want to see. Thus, here’s my summer 2010 season preview.

Beginning, of course, with the requisite link to Chartfag’s Summer 2010 chart so that you can see it all in one place. Also see it for show summaries as I will not provide them below (though I found trailers for almost everything). I also got all of my airdates from anime calendar except where noted.

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Anime is a Social Drug

A lot of my friends are stoners, and nine times out of ten they smoke with a group because it’s more fun than doing it alone. We can all relate – while there may be anime fans out there who’re content with enjoying it alone, you and I are clearly not those fans, as proven by us being here right now. We like discussing anime with other people, but just like you won’t get far around potheads if you don’t know the difference between ‘dank’ and ‘chronic’, you won’t get far discussing anime if you aren’t up to speed on the shows that get talked about.

That’s not to say everyone has to watch what’s popular to be a part of the conversation, but if your tastes and knowledge are limited, you won’t have as much to talk about. This doesn’t matter to some, but if you have lots of fun getting in on intense discussions like I do, then it matters to you. For instance, I’m not huge on mecha and sci-fi anime, so I lose out on a lot of discussion over at We Remember Love, which sucks because there’s always a lot of it going on after each post, and I love ghostlightning and his audience.

^ How anime bloggers visualize their conversations. Art by peg http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=peg

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Finding the "Manly Men" In Anime (Not To Be Confused With The "Macho Men")

“…the point I want to make is that there’s a significant difference between being manly, an awesome masculine badass who we can respect and admire; and being macho, a muscular, insecure tosspot with no social skills.” - Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

This post by video game journalist Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw on his Extra Punctuation feature caught my interest a few weeks ago. It’s about distinguishing characters who are ‘manly men’ from those who are ‘macho men’ – the gist of it being that a ‘manly man’ is a guy who’s completely badass while still being honest with his emotions and respectful of other people, while a ‘macho man’ is a guy who tries to constantly reassure you that he has a dick by acting like one. I realize that making this distinction will raise flags with some readers (especially my vocal feminist crowd, hehe), so if you’re wary about this distinction and want to discuss it, please read this disclaimer before leaving any argumentative comments. If you don’t care about all that, then proceed~

After giving thought to Yahtzee’s post, I realized that anime is sparse on ‘manly men’. Most anime characters tend to be young, and lack the clarity of thought and ability to take action that a ‘manly man’ has. Sure, characters will sometimes do manly things, but that’s not the same as embodying that manliness as a way of life. For instance, I could argue that Kyon from Haruhi has some manly moments of taking action, but outside of those moments he’s still a directionless, complacent teenager, regardless of how much wit and intellect he has to back him up. Nay, I’m on a search for characters who are truly ‘manly men’, and I’ve listed a few whom I think qualify below.

Okay, his outfit is a bit ridiculous. Art by denchi http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=denchi

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Sometimes, Your Self-Righteous Dumbass of a Male Lead Shits All Over Everything

It’s common practice for an anime to feature a male lead whom the audience can easily relate to, and therefor usually holds to society’s moral compass. It’s also common practice for that male lead to have one or more female love interests, and not uncommon for one of those love interests to follow a conflicting moral compass. This creates a “Defrosting the Ice Queen” situation, wherein the lead tries to bring his love interest over to what he views as ‘the side of righteousness.’

Being as I’m at ends with society’s moral compass and have a deep hatred for self-righteous people, I’m always wary of this trope. However, surprisingly, I often find it to be justified. For example, take Revy, the Ice Queen from Black Lagoon. The male lead, Rock, tries to change Revy and create some sort of moral base within her, but he does so because her attitude and actions are self-destructive. He gradually admits that while he doesn’t approve of her criminal way of life, he understands it, and he makes it clear that he wants Revy to change for her own sake, so that she can find happiness instead of wasting her life.

Defrosting Ice Queen done right. Art by nilitsu http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=nilitsu

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Love Cannot Be Bound By Standards! (But I Really Wish That It Could)

“Complex rating systems just kill me. Maybe someday such a system can explain to me how much I love fucking Macross 7.”
ghostlightning, in reply to this post

Shakugan no Shana sucks and I hate it — So why the fuck did I just move the episodes back to my computer? Why did I burn them to a fucking DVD in the first place? Why, after three years of hating the show, do I now feel the drive to watch it again? Sadly, I think the answer is love.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

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Self-Doubt and the Miracle of Rewatching (OR How to Completely Fail at Watching Anime)

Two years ago, I was a member of an ‘anime recommendation database’ site called Anime-Planet; I left in May 2008, but my account still exists, untouched by time. I’d like you to have a look at the favorites list in the ‘about me’ section of that account, and then compare it with my current ‘favorites list’ page. It’s no surprise that shows have been added over the years, but you will also notice that over half of the old list is fucking gone. I didn’t just decide one day that I hated half of my favorite anime, though – the cause of this anomaly is self-doubt.

The paragon of self-doubt. Art by togetsuhou http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=togetsuhou

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Interesting Characters: Deep, Developed, and Chemical

“Who knew the ramen guy had so much backstory?”
Neku, The World Ends With You – taken from TV Tropes

In my years of reading anime reviews, I have seen many writers try and define what makes a ‘good character’, usually citing a certain element of characterization that they find most important in doing so. Leaving aside the obvious fact that character interpretation is subjective, I want to try and distinguish the different elements that can be used to make a show’s characters interesting. In this post I’ll be discussing the conventional elements of character ‘depth‘ and ‘development,’ as well as the element of ‘chemistry,’ which is less commonly mentioned in anime reviews.

The paragon of depth, development, and chemistry.

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