Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring fever

The title choice is somewhat facetious; this is one of the lowest-pressure seasons in recent memory. So far there've been no real standouts, no exceptional brilliance. The only series I was anticipating is of course Geass R2. But anyway, here goes the snarky commentary, following the list from Random Curiosity.

Allison & Lillia: I like it. It's old fashioned in feel, with prop planes and good honest people. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that many of the people involved in the production have worked on recent Tezuka adaptations -- perhaps that's coming through here. Still haven't seen Kino no Tabi, but it has a stellar rep, so I'm not really worried that this story will go south. Wil's voice is a bit difficult to get used to though.

Macross Frontier: Is everyone raving about this, or is it my imagination? I missed out on the Robotech thing as a kid, so I don't have any emotional connection to the Macross universe. Nevertheless, I'll check this out. Eventually.

To LOVE-Ru / Kanokon: I was shocked, utterly shocked, to see "Yabuki Kentaro" on the front cover of the To LOVE-Ru manga. I got through about a chapter, and gave it up as trash, so I don't plan to even look in this series's direction. Kanokon is the other major fanservice event this season. From what I've read of the manga, Chizuru is very :3, but the anime seems like far too much of a guilty pleasure for me to consider watching it. ;_;

kure-nai: Watched a few minutes of this, wasn't particularly impressed. Yet everybody's raving about this one too? Well, we'll see.

The Tower of Druaga: First of all, kudos to Gonzo for jumping on the digital distribution bandwagon. It's a good first step. The second step is to make something that I'll be willing to watch. Not that the subs were bad (they were mostly good with a few oddities), the content is bad. Yeah, I'm not into fantasy so much, especially not lousy fantasy.

Amatsuki: The character designs seem like they come from a shoujou manga. Not really interested in the premise...

Kamen no Maid Guy: The first ep was full of WTF. And fanservice, if molestation = fanservice. It was hilarious though. I'm not entirely comfortable with letting myself watching this, although I do like the idea of maid-with-nail-studded-baseball-bat. We shall see.

Geass R2: They pulled a fast one in the first ep; must've wanted to set stuff up all over again. At least in ep 2 we see a bit more of the Geass machinery. Suzaku is pretty scary when he's got his serious face on. Sunrise, don't screw this one up.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama: I'm not really into fox-girls, so this series is a case of kitsune vs miko. Miko wins, thanks to the bit near the end of the first ep, on the train. I'll watching at least one more ep; the animation and production values are good, but the direction and pacing are just off enough to annoy me into not watching this.

Nabari no Ou: I should know well enough by now to stop saying "wtf they're already making that an anime". The manga wasn't enough to keep my interest, but J.C. Staff has done a compelling job with the material. By applying their now-trademark watercolor backgrounds, they've really brought the scenario to life. I'm still a bit burned out on ninjas, but this series might be watchable. Looking at ANN, the director, Kunihisa Sugishima, has work ranging from storyboard on Zeta Gundam (!) to director of Strike Witches (...) to storyboard on Code Geass. This could be decent: shounen, but decent.

Special A: They made Hikari look too much like Kana from Minami-ke, but I could live with that. The second episode, however, shows no attention to drawing faces, which I can't live with. I must thank them for calling my attention to the manga, which although very shoujou-bubbly, still manages to have Hikari looking like she'll kick anyone's ass. And that's what matters. To me, at least.

Crystal Blaze: Well, I watched this. It wasn't as bad as I expected; it was fairly well done. However, that girl's voice is incredibly annoying, and it appears that the characters are all stereotypes. Meh.

Toshokan Sensou: Waiting for subs.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki: I expected this to be funny from the setup, but I've had to inaugurate a new noun to describe this show: lolarity. I'm not so into catgirls, but I can dig "only the wife is allowed to abuse the husband" :3. Animation's cheap, but the rest makes up for it.

The rest: Himitsu? Monochrome Factor? Soul Eater? These seem to have gotten some good press, but unless they turn out to be totally awesome, I'll pass.

Bartender turned me into an alcoholic.

They knowingly conceived this project to exploit the finely romantic sensibilities of dreaming youth, lost youth, and youth being lost. It seemed, and now undeniably is, so natural, so beautiful, to forge one's courage, drown one's failures, or relive one's past through the lens of a cocktail. The bottles spin away into the horizon, endless labels of industrially distilled spirits, each containing glimpses of a dream. The strangely earnest jazz trickles past, a tributary to the river of sentimentality. And Ryuu creates his Glass of the Gods for the evening, and stricken with a desperate need to savor the same flavors and feelings, we rush out to buy gin and Drambuie and champagne and tonic water.

Well, we're not that desperate. I did end up having to try my friend's "Jack Rose", which he made by adding apple cider (or was it apple juice?) to a bottom-shelf brandy, together with some citrus component that wasn't a lime. Suffice it to say, it didn't really work. For my part, I bought a bottle of gin, which I gradually figured out how to drink. After that came a bottle of (lousy) tequila, and then a bottle of (awesome) rye. Now I think we have ten bottles of whiskey in the house.

I can't completely put the blame on Bartender for my alcoholism. Recent years have seen resurgence of cocktail culture in the United States, and perhaps the madness has made it to Japan. There are no melodramatic TV shows in the US about cocktails, though. Just articles and columns in the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. And some great books.

On your personal road to developing an emotional dependence on alcohol, I advise not buying the liquors featured in Bartender's product placement spotlight. Spend a bit more to get top-shelf liquors. Your cirrhosis will be far more pleasant to develop. Now excuse me while I deal with all this acetaldehyde.

2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Red Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Assemble ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir a good bit, then strain into other glass of choice. I drink everything out of a "Scotch glass".

(Note to the PC police: alcoholism is a serious problem. Professional help is advised.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sign me up

Sign me up for the Kyou Fanboy Association. :3