My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 3 Premiere

God damn, I’ve finally got something to be excited about. I haven’t felt this fulfilled with a piece of media since I finished Mass Effect 2 six weeks ago. Just as in February, MLP has filled the hole left by my growing fallout with currently-running anime (except JoJo, which is fairly satisfying). It’s a shame I’ll only get one episode a week; I’ll have to continue marathoning all my favorite anime in the meantime.

The season premiere is as exciting as I needed it to be. I’ve seen mixed (though mostly positive, because come on, it’s S3!) reactions, mostly because the villain is almost non-present throughout the episode. I don’t even care, do you care? Do you fuckin care? I don’t care.

The most exciting thing in the premiere is something which had started to emerge in season two, and looks to be a continuing trend—continuity. Back in season one there were two major continuity threads between five episodes—three of which revolved around the Grand Galloping Gala (3, 14, and 26), and two of which revolved around the Sonic Rainboom (16 and 23). You may remember that my first reaction to MLP after finishing S1 was that I wished it had a stronger continuity.

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The Courage To Watch Nisemonogatari 2

If I ever felt like a show as going to give me heart problems, I certainly felt it watching this. The -monogatari franchise still feels to me like the “old friend” that I described in my Finish or Fail post on the show two years ago, but like an old friend, our relationship has only grown in inside jokes, collective laziness to get anything done, and perversion. This has become the anime equivalent of watching porn with a friend.

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God Damn .hack//SIGN Episode 2

[Sorry for this post being a week and an hour late. Turns out coordinating people to do videos is really difficult. Next week’s ep will be out as scheduled.]

I won’t lie, .hack//SIGN has gotten off to good start. If I were watching it without pretext, I wouldn’t have dropped it after these two episodes. My only real trouble with the series continues to be its verisimilitude.

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Fucking MADLAX Episode 2

The idea of Bee Train’s “girls with guns” series is to focus on a pair of girls—one older and sexy, the other younger and cute—both of whom have mysterious pasts and mad gun skills, and whose relationship borders heavily on lesbian. A lot of my rage towards these shows comes from the fact that if you removed “Bee Train” from that description, it would sound like the remedy for my favorite show ever. Unfortunately, Bee Train fucks it up time and again. Had Canaan not finally done the formula right, I’d be haunted by this.

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On the Eighth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: NONSTOP AWESOME From Strike Witches 2

Strike Witches 2 is a perfect sequel. It takes what the first season did and improves on it from front to back, with better writing, more emphasis on the characters being awesome (as opposed to just sort of being there as they were sometimes in S1), and a whole lot more memorable events. I can’t remember much about the first season—I enjoyed the characters (mostly for their designs) and the general premise, but there hadn’t been anything in the show that really stuck with me, which is why even though I felt myself being instinctively defensive of it, I could never say that much good about it.

2 cures that entirely. Almost every single episode is memorable for one reason or another, and the series is riddled with moments of ultimate badassery. Being as “moments of ultimate badassery” are always my favorite part of anime, this meant a lot to love for me. Besides that, it got rid of other things I didn’t like about the first series, like all the in-fighting that came from Perrine (this time, she’s as much of a lovable character as the rest), and general lack of presence from others (everyone gets their moment in S2, and none of those moments are throw-away.)

There’s definitely more than one moment of awesome worth highlighting here, so I’ll just pull all the biggest ones.

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SD Gundam Sangokuden 2 – Gundams Are People

SD Gundam Sangokuden continues to be entertaining, but I have to admit I was just a bit distracted when watching episode 2. I couldn’t help but notice the extent to which in this show, Gundams are, in fact, people.

See Gundam wake up.

See Gundam eat a god damn riceball (he really puts it to his faceplace and fucking eats it, I swear) and then get rice stuck on his face.

See Gundam angry (okay, maybe you’ve seen that before.)

See Gundam cheerily frolic with his new pals, Zeta (red) and ZZ (green). (Using the model names to address everyone but Liu Bei because I have zero capacity for memorizing Chinese names.) (Also, I am pretty sure that the models of the Gundams have little to do with the specs of their UC counterparts.)

Anyway, the Gundams, and every other sort of mobile suit for that matter, are people in this show, which begs to question whether the series has anything to do with either Gundam or Bromance of the Three Kingdoms at all. Actually, the truth is that those two names are why this show has such an insanely high budget in spite of being a children’s cartoon with an entirely original plot. Can’t say I’m not glad for that fact.

What we do get, though, is a little bit of an uncanny valley effect, because it is impossible to block out the fact in your mind that THOSE ARE FUCKING GUNDAMS. And it gets really weird when you have mechs like this thing showing up.

It doesn’t even have a face! I’m not even thinking about how weird it is that this is a person, cuz I’m too busy being impressed at how well the animators conveyed it’s evil rage just by moving the god damn edges of it’s helmet!

Working!! 2 – For the First Time, I Can't Decide If I'm Glad For This Anime Being Around as a Fan of the Manga, or Pissed Because it Sucks so Hard

I have come to the conclusion that, as an individual endeavor, the Working!! anime is not worthwhile. Whereas the manga is consistently funny, quick, and manages to pull off mild repetition without getting boring, the anime is instead slow, poorly paced with crappy joke delivery, and gets quickly repetitive. However, I can’t decide if I’m really pissed about the anime being so poor, or glad for it’s great qualities in light of being a fan of the manga.

This isn’t a rare problem, from what I understand. After all, just about every anime to have ever been adapted from a manga has it’s detractors among fans of the latter. I have, however, almost never been one of those people. I can only think of three instances wherein I really didn’t like the anime adaption as much as the source material – Akira, because it’s about 6 times shorter than the manga, but still amazing; Gunslinger Girl Il Treano because it totally went off in it’s own direction from the superb first series and manga; and Jing: King of Bandits because it was a crappy, low-budget adaption that missed all the manga’s good points. Well, with Working!!, I can add a fourth to my list.

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Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu is Shin Oonuma's Redemption (Episode 2)

Yes, please.

When people talk about anime made by studio SHAFT, they often toss around the name of it’s chief director, Akiyuki Shinbo. After all, Shinbo’s influence as a director has the biggest effect on the creativity of SHAFT anime, as proven by the fact that his style has largely been retained from his time before going to SHAFT. However, a lot of people give him too much credit, when SHAFT is more like a body with singular goals with him at the head, rather than him dominating the creative influence. Shin Oonuma would have been proof of this. Oonuma is one of the important members of SHAFT, who co-directed Pani Poni Dash, along with other SHAFT anime. Oonuma got his personal directorial debut with 2007’s amazing ef ~a tale of memories~, but somehow, his influence was overshadowed.

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Kuuchuu Buranko ep. 2 – HNGGGGGG!!!!

(For the duration of this post, I will refer to this show as ‘Kuuuuchuuuu Buuuuranko’ at the specific request of a certain Anime Kritik. :p) Kuuuuchuuuu Buuuuranko 2 was a ton of fun and the kind of episode that is really going to sell this series to me. If there’s one thing I always find myself complaining about, it’s a lack of sexual honesty in a lot of modern stuff. Especially anything from Japan – the self-repression is ridiculous. You can’t even have porn without censorship! And the characters are always either reluctant or utter deviants! Anyway, this episode deals a lot directly with the penis, and just because it never shows it (thankfully, right?) doesn’t mean it isn’t honest.

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