I swear, like, a million people emailed me, all dying to know what shows I feast my eyes on these days. Really! So here goes, in no particular order. I decided to stick with TV series since I’m saving my OVAs for reviewing later on.
I’ll post three today and three more tomorrow, so be sure to check back, dear reader!
Strictly speaking no one’s watching this anymore because it just ended, and it was quite a short series at only twelve episodes – compounded by the middle episodes qualifying as filler in any other show. But to me that was the point. The story was about a teenager trying his damndest to show this sheltered, self-absorbed little girl what a normal life is, and the two of them growing to care about each other despite having been dumped into each other’s arms with little preparation on either part. And if you’re willing to follow their lives, you’ll find that Kurenai‘s characters are complex and compelling, that their dialogue is vibrantly real, and that their noses take up residence in planes of their face no nose should ever inhabit. Poor Benika-sama.
As for the ending, here’s my share of virtual ink to add to the sea already spilled: I am a Westerner, and as such, the compromise that the ending embodies did not touch me to the extent Kurenai‘s writers were doubtlessly hoping for. But then, as a thought exercise, I put myself in the shoes of the average Japanese person who has had to reconcile tradition and progress since birth, and it made me see the ending in a kinder light. A matter of cultural perspective, if you will. These are Japanese cartoons we are watching.
So is Kurenai worth your while? Considering the minimal time investment (no more than 5 hours), I would respond with an emphatic yes, unless you’re allergic to slice of life. Otherwise, do go ahead with my blessing, since it’s not every day you get to see a fucking bone horn erupt from a man’s elbow.
The only Macross I’ve ever watched is Macross Plus, and that was years ago, as part of those mystical tapes I acquired from a friend, so my memory of it is hazy. I do understand the thematic tapestry the franchise weaves with every new outing, though – robot jets in space, love triangle, music beats Jesus at saving souls, blah blah.
Are the robot jets in space cool this time around? Yes, and the CG-enhanced battles are fast and furious, dizzyingly so at times. How about the music? Well, it’s Macross, so it’s great, although I care little for the ending theme, which sounds a bit lifeless compared to the uplifting opening theme or the battle tracks.
But then there’s the love triangle. And it’s easy for such a triangle to fall apart when you can’t muster much sympathy for two of its three sides. Alto, the male lead, isn’t as clueless as the throngs of insipid pretty boys we’ve been force-fed over the years: he does have a nifty backstory as a young kabuki prodigy, and a passion for flying that compels him to transform every single piece of paper he comes across into a paper airplane. Nevertheless, he’s about as proactive as a slug on novocaine. Hey Alto, you’ve got not one but two cute girls pining for you. Wake up and make a move before Sheryl has enough and rapes you silly the next time you’re stuck together in a school locker.
Speaking of Sheryl, she’s the most popular pop idol in the universe and side #2 of our skewed love triangle. The problem with Sheryl is that she’s too busy being a vapid twat, a genuine caricature, to be anything else. I also can’t believe she’s supposed to be seventeen. Come on. Look at those, uhm, costumes. Nobody learns to be a harlot of such galactic proportions in that short a time. And no Sheryl, it’s not strange for a man to put his cellphone in his pants pocket and set it to vibrate! Rather, it’s a strange place for you to rub with your barely-covered crotch! (The only nice thing about Sheryl I can think of is that her hair is awesome. Yup. That’s it. Seriously.)
Last in our love triangle comes Ranka, a sixteen-year-old girl with a dream: become a popular singer like her idol, Sheryl. And maybe boink Alto if the opportunity arises. Fortunately for Macross Frontier, she saves the show by being the absolute paragon of the modest, hard-working cute girl who has to overcome incredible odds to achieve her goal. She’s sweet, she’s funny, and her singing voice is better than Sheryl’s by light-years; it’s a relief that the show is spending more and more time chronicling her rise as an artist and the challenges that lie therein. Considering her competition is the #1 idol in the universe, and that said competition is not below French-kissing the boy Ranka likes in front of her, I daresay our young green-haired heroine has her work cut out for her.
If you’re into Macross at all you are already watching this show; if you were debating taking the plunge, then Frontier is about as good a time as ever to find out whether the Macross universe and its trappings are for you, considering how easy it is to get into. Just like Sheryl’s pants. OH SNAP.
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki
If you threw every anime stereotype in a blender along with three cups sugar and two tabs of LSD, you’d end up with a batch of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (“Diary of a Frenzy Family”, thank you Wikipedia). Here’s the makeup of the titular family:
- Secret agent for a paranormal research agency
- Lion king
- Genetically engineered biological weapon
- Jellyfish with electrical eel powers
- Young man with Gender Identity Disorder
- Moe girl who was physically abused non-stop for the first nine years of her life
- Moe girl’s older sister who performed the physical abuse only to be saved by her love for GID Boy
Yes, all those people live together in the same house. As to why, it’s barely relevant, and if you start watching Kyouran Kazoku Nikki expecting some sort of well-constructed universe with a solid backstory, well, just turn the fuck around now, man. This… is… ANIME! The word “random” can barely begin to describe what passes for a storyline, and I won’t even make an attempt at description here. Part of the charm is seeing the crazy tangents the show comes up with.
But the real pleasure of watching lies not in the plot; rather, it lies in the boundless energy that all characters exude, whatever their onscreen time. Some of the characters – Kyouka in particular, the catgirl “Mom” of the family – take it to extremes, which can be overwhelming and make you want to reach for the nearest roll of duct tape. Thus I would recommend this show if you’re in dire need of a weekly half-hour to blow off steam, switch off your brain’s rational side, and put away your more serious persona in favor of your inner crazy catgirl. Who can claim to be sane enough to forsake such therapy? Not me!
That’s it for today folks. See you tomorrow!
Today’s Karen is: TIRED