Matt Hackmann

Anime Reviews 2013 - The Stages of Depression

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Back again with a mishmash of categories.

Biggest Surprise

Flowers of Evil

Chris - Flowers of Evil

This was a weird one. Initially, I made an attempt to watch the first episode because I wanted to see what was up with the art style. I was pretty revolted and didn’t get much farther than a few minutes in, determining then that I would never pick the series back up. However, as the season progressed, and good reviews for the series - at least from American outlets - began rolling in, I gave the show a second shot. And so it was that I marathoned the show over the course of two days. Fuck me, man.

What I didn't realize on my first attempt was how good the story was, as I hadn't seen enough due to the art style turning me off. But as I progressed through the series, even the visuals began to grow on me, and not because I found them attractive, per se, but because they work so goddamn well for the story being told. They provide a perfect, unsettling feel that works with the story, music, and direction to make you uncomfortable, and that’s how the show ended up being so effective.

Unfortunately, chances of a second season are pretty much non-existent, which saddens me given the open ending and the tease in the last episode showing moments from farther along in the manga. But in any case, I’m glad I gave this show a chance.

Girls und Panzer

Matt - Girls und Panzer

In a genre filled with "cute girls doing cute things" shows, I would have expected Girls und Panzer, a series centering around - surprise, surprise - high school girls who drive and battle tanks, to be more of the same. And while there is plenty of pandering in that area, the show seems to concentrate more on the tank battles and the tactics around them instead of the girls' antics. For the silly ass plot, it's surprisingly engaging without being dull or saccharine sweet. The suspension of disbelief becomes a little difficult when there are live ammunition rounds flying everywhere, tanks flipping, and lots of explosions without any of the characters getting a scratch, but it's a wholly enjoyable romp. I mean, c'mon. You have to give credit to any show making such a blatant homage to the Spam sketch.

Biggest Letdown

Henneko

Chris - The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat

I’m not gonna lie, I enjoyed Henneko. It was sometimes funny and occasionally touching, but I still can't contain my raging disappointment with certain parts of the show.

For starters, Kantoku's character designs didn't translate as well to the Anime as I was hoping. I'm chalking this up to JC Staff, a studio I’m pretty consistently disappointed with in terms of production values, but that's a rant for another day.

Another problem I have is with main girl Tsukiko. I think Tsukiko is okay, but she’s not great - or at least she isn’t past the first episode. It's at first funny and a little charming when Tsukiko loses her ability to emote, but it gets old fast, and I kept wishing that at some point she would regain this ability. As it was, I was treated to 11 episodes about a cadaver with speaking abilities.

Finally, there's the issue of best girl, Azuki Azusa, and how you know she's going to get shafted in the game of love, overtaken by an almost literal piece of cardboard, much the same way that Kanna Tanigawa from Ano Natsu de Matteru got her heart gutted by a figurative piece of cardboard last year.

Yes, I'm still bitter over that one.

Oreimo 2

Matt - My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute (Season 2 OVAs)

I suppose in a show entitled "My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute" I shouldn't be surprised that they ended it how they did. However, I was lead to believe that this show was going to eschew the images suggested by the title and simply be about a couple of estranged siblings making amends and the journey to get there… not to half-assedly take the incest route, crushing souls all along the way. And even in the end, the author doesn’t commit to this serving of taboo (apparently forced by the publisher) and cops out of the whole thing. Whatever, I was more butthurt over this ending than I should have been especially considering that I really wasn't attached to the show… or at least, that’s what I thought. It makes me uneasy that the bitch herself is currently at the top of the "popular art" block and also stares at me as I’m falling asleep...

What the Fuck, Anime?

GJ-bu

Matt - GJ-Club

GJ-bu (or "Good Job Club") is, on the surface, Yet-Another-Do-Nothing-Club™ anime that's also kind of harem-y with a dash of Cute Girls Doing Cute Things®. Kyouya is our male protagonist in a club with four (at some point, five) girls. Apparently, they kidnapped him and (presumably) forced him to join. That kind of sets the tone for the entire show, really. He is their boy toy; a male upon which they can fire off odd females wiles… I guess, I mean they're not wiles I would ever associate as being stereotypically female. For example, they're teasing him about whether he thinks he's popular with the girls and they all start rubbing themselves on him. Or they all get him to brush their hair at some point (this show has a serious hair fetish) which moistens all the women's panties, apparently.

Her panties are wet beyond belief

It's derogatory to both sexes, it seems; the females act like they need a man, so they order this balless wimp around like they’re in some sort of cute S&M dungeon.

Forgot to add - this dickless wonder gets bitten a lot

The characters are kind of cute, I guess, and there are a few genuinely funny moments (mostly when "Hachiman" shows up), but that sub-text just makes the whole show feel unsettling.[/i]

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