Cool Down With Some Winter Anime!
Unless You’re Into Harems, Then It’s About to Get Hot!
By: Head Writer – J.R Tafoya
Hello again, Giga-Friends, and welcome to another anime Initial Review! Are you the kind of person who waits a few weeks for people to find all the garbage so you can pick out the pearls amongst swine? Well look no further, your hero has arrived!
Today we learn a lot about J.R. Maybe an anecdotal writing style is too much for some people. But, as I am an open book, I welcome you with open arms! . . . pages? How far does this book metaphor go?
Anyway, I’ve brought you a few anime I thought were worth of some attention, despite being on the less popular side. Not to be an anime hipster, but things like Little Witch Academia and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon don’t need my help getting popularized or noticed. Also, if you aren’t watching the former, you should be! . . . I digress. This time I’ve gone with a few anime that may have piqued some peoples’ interest with either the title alone, or a quick read of the premise.
Excuse the writing style, if you will, because you need to be prepared to learn a little more about J.R than you might be willing to. But, I bring you nothing but gold (lie)!
Today we learn about Masamune-kun’s Revenge which has a strong binding but the pages are left wet with desperation and mens’ tears. Be careful with the pages on Demi-chan because it’s made out of sweets, sugar, and a heaping helping of diabetes. Also, ignore the overly-intimate relationship between an old teacher and his students. But, maybe your taste is more unique (bad) and you’d like something like Akiba’s Trip which, despite the cute pun in the name, isn’t quite a smutty as you’d like, and whose spine falls apart while the mis-numbered pages lead you on an adventure of T&A.
Well, apparently that book metaphor went a little further than I thought it could! . . . Or not. At least I tried! Which is exactly what I can say about these (pre)reviews! . . . Wait . . . what? . . .
Outlook: The Catharsis We Need and The Healing We Will Never Get –
When I was younger, I really loved reading harem manga. Yes, I admit it. The first manga I ever finished was Love Hina. From start to end it had me enthralled not only with a new style of art, but also with the angsty love between two (moronic) adults who could never let their feelings for each other be known. I moved on to other things like Negima!, I’’s, and finally finished off with Ichigo 100% where my love of the genre as a whole was tarnished.
You see, when I was younger, and stupider, and had worse taste, I wanted to use those as self-insert stories; as stories I could see happening in real life, and the romance most men actually want, but will never admit they want. Sweeping a girl off her feet, saving her from overzealous bullies, and taking the fall for the girl of your dreams is, oddly enough, (most) guys’ dreams. Here’s where the problem lies; Just about every single one of those famous harem manga have one glaring flaw: character tropes. Or, more specifically, tsundere. The one character who will physically hurt the MC because they can’t “be honest with their feelings”, or because slapstick calls for it. The latter is more forgivable, the former is just a played out trope that is beyond frustrating at this point.
So what does all this have to do with Masamune-kun’s Revenge? Well, Makabe Masamune was a fairly . . . interesting looking child who was often bullied because of his looks and demeanor. When a young girl steps in to protect him one day, he instantly falls in love. Being the impressionable young man he was, Masamune confessed to her, in which her reply was a terrible insult and a nickname that would scar our MC for life, “Pig’s Foot”. And therein lies our trope of the all-too-obvious tsundere character.
Many years later, in highschool, Masamune has taken painstaking steps to better not only his own mental fortitude, but his body as well. Masamune has fashioned his room into his own personal workout area and toned his body to look like a modern day Adonis. Hell, his body is so hot you could damn well cook bacon on it! But, this day marks the day that Masamune arrives at his new school, which also happens to be the school of none other than Adagaki Aki, his heart’s own executioner.
Kids, can you guess why this is called Masamune-kun’s Revenge!? If you can’t, I hate you. Masamune wants to get close to Aki so he can crush her like he was crushed so many years ago. Though, his first day of school shows that won’t be an easy task. His first sight is a young man confessing his love for the beautiful young lady with open arms. But, her response is a resounding “no”, with the added insult of revealing his deepest secrets to the entire school and then tacking on a vicious nickname to pour salt in the wound. Though scared at first Masamune sees himself as righteous now, in this endeavor of his, as he seeks to crush a woman who has not only scarred him, but mortally wounded many men during her reign in high school.
From the outlook, you can guess where this show might be heading and I can say that I will most likely be very disappointed. I don’t think I personally know any men or women who weren’t shot down at some point in their life. And let me tell you, that s*** hurts like you can’t believe. So the synopsis presented itself as a catharsis to the many people who wanted to some kind of solace, in the kindest, nerdiest, and most passive way possible: through vicariously living through the main character of an anime. But, from the first three episodes, the show has already let us know that -that- particular ending may not be one that we get. Around episode three, Masamune starts feeling useless things like compassion or pity for this demon-woman, and it really kills the mood.
Other than that, you can definitely pick up the “harem anime” vibes from this show, so if you’re not into the gratuitous breast bouncing and bountiful panty shots, you’d likely want to stand back. Masamune, despite his spite, is a pretty likeable guy and, for the ladies, he’s pretty good-looking to boot. But, the comedy can only go so far in a show like this and it leaves a lot to be desired on that end. The music itself isn’t even worth noticing at most points in the show.
If you’re looking for a comedic turn on the harem genre, or just a harem show in general, you’d probably want to give this a shot. The story is pretty good, so far, and the character development is working it’s way in, even if a little slow. But, if you want something that stands out or that pulls itself away from the trope-laden quagmire that is the harem genre, you’d likely want to steer clear of this swamp, or at least wade through with some long rubber fishing boots.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai
(Interviews with Monster Girls)
Outlook: The Most Vanilla “Monster” Girls Ever –
When people like me, that is, plebeians and virgins to the “Monster Girl” type shows hear about shows like this, it usually gets us to steer away. If anyone remembers, we had a podcast interview with Fakku some many, many (internet time) years ago when MonMusu had just come out. I was forced to answer the question: What kind of monster girl would you want the most? In their terms, monster girls are more animal than not. Snake girls slither around and have scales, harpies are winged women that have literal chicken legs, and cat girls . . . well, let’s just say you’d be feeling whiskers and fur. So, reluctantly I answered in an awkward and forced tone and prayed that I would forget the conversation ever happened.
That is, until I found out monster girls could be so DAMN CUTE! -err, I mean – Something manly!
Since everyone is aware that I love slice-of-life shows let’s get this out of the way. I don’t think I need to hide it, but it never hurts to try and save face. Anyway, when I say “vanilla” monster girls, I damn well mean it. The main group consists of a Vampire, a Succubus, a Snow Woman, and the least vanilla being a Dullahan. ALL HUMANS WITH QUIRKS! So it’s right up my plebeian-ass alley!
Takahashi Tetsuo, a biology teacher at a high school, has always been interested in “Ajin” or, “Demi-Humans”. In this world, certain humans can be born with quirks that make them, well, “different”. Tetsuo has always wanted to meet these Demi-Humans because of how rare they are in normal human society. Feared and reviled in the past and even inspiring such stories as Dracula or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it was only recently that Demi-Humans were able to coexist peacefully in normal society. But, due to their scarcity, Tetsuo has never met a single Demi-Human despite trying “lots of different things to meet them”. That is, until this new year at school where a young vampire by the name Hikari joins his school. Excited and a little overzealous, Tetsuo makes sure he can be friendly with these young high school girls (and one teacher), so he can interview them for his research paper. And, yes, it is that awkward.
So, ladies and gentlemen, take this show with a very large grain of salt. Tetsuo-sensei and his Demi friends definitely break a few boundaries in terms of student-teacher relationships. The entire show is definitely adorable in its own right. The character interactions and how Tetsuo interviews the girls about the things that make them Demi is endearing and, for the sake of sounding redundant, a little cute. But, the problem lies with how some of these interactions play out and leads me to believe that the school (and by extension, the police) generally don’t care about a middle-aged man becoming more intimate with his students than is comfortable.
But, everything aside, it’s a silly show about a passionate “scientist” and his need to learn about a group of people that were long prosecuted by humanity and are just now getting normal human rights. The vampire especially gives you a strong dose of diabetes off the bat (HA! Get it!?). Her energetic demeanor and inability to “read the air” makes her a great character to bring the other Demi out of their shells and into society. If you can turn your brain off and worry less about the illegitimate relationship between a teacher and his students (and another teacher), you’ll have a good time with a silly slice-of-life.
Worry less about the rules of -actual- society and pretend that it’s OK to hold a dullahan’s head in your arms or take a student on a date. . . wait . . . what?
Outlook: Not Quite As Sexy As You’d Think –
Every anime fan knows that the “Realm of Anime” comes with its own territory. That territory usually includes a lot of good things like original stories only told through the medium of animation, interesting characters that we can get attached to, comedy, and a huge heaping helping of other things that make us all feel good on the inside (one of those things MIGHT be slice of life shows, but that’s just me- I mean, some people I know). There is, however, a long laundry list of things that might make the “normies” cringe on sight. You know, those scenes that would make you cover your screen when your parents walked in, despite it not actually being porn? For instance: plentiful panty-peeks, jiggling jugs, moaning men (and women), and all too often sexual innuendo that looks fairly . . . suspect from the outside.
But, there are a select few shows that can turn the negative tropes on their head and use them for the greater good! One Punch Man turned the “perfect superhero” trope into something regarded as one of the best shows of the decade! PunchLine was a show about a kid who gained super strength when he was turned on, and it was about him NOT looking up girls’ skirts! . . .
. . . Akiba’s Trip is not one of those shows.
Tamotsu, a terribly designed character, and his sister Niwaka are residents of the (in)famous Akihabara, home to nerds far and wide. Tamotsu himself is another NEET (Not in Education, Employed, in Training) who uses his parents money to buy nerdy things in Akiba every day. One day, while doing whatever it is NEETs do everyday, a young red-headed spit-fire falls from the skies meteorically making mayhem where she lands. Not only does this girl, Mayonaka, survive a fall that crippled concrete, she immediately attacks a group of people with a bat. But, since this is an anime, police don’t exist, just comedy side-characters that pretend to patrol Akiba.
After Tamotsu runs into Mayonaka again, after she’d saved his sister, he follows her up to the roof of a building where he sees her getting thoroughly thrashed by a thuggish troop. A better way to explain it in young, hip terms would be “curb stomped”. She was being absolutely destroyed by a group of women who had intended to kill her. Tamotsu jumps in to save Mayonaka at the last second from a skewer which ended his life, instead of hers. Guilt-ridden, Mayonaka plants a big wet one on Tamotsu’s dead body and brings him back to life . . . with SUPEROWERS!
Tamotsu then finds out the ones hunting Mayonaka down are called “Bugged Ones” who can only be defeated when their bodies are exposed to air, meaning . . . he has to undress them to beat them. Not only that, Tamotsu finds out that he can no longer live a normal life because he has become a being just like them and, if he were to ever become undressed like the Bugged Ones, he would actually die. But, rather than being freaked out at his extreme mortality, Tamotsu runs off to do more NEET things because time is of the essence and he has a higher chance of dying with regrets now!
So, off the bat, the show really isn’t interesting. It’s obviously based off the PS4 game of the same name, which I’ve heard was fun, comedic, and a little silly. The anime, however, doesn’t do much to ingratiate the characters to us nor does it make an attempt to make me care about the story. Hell, I went into it expecting a comedy and I honestly don’t recall laughing even once. Trust me, I know for a fact I’m immature because I still get kicks out of watching Gintama, which still resorts to using fart and poop jokes!
Instead the show paces strangely, moving from action, to (wanna-be) comedy, to slice-of-life all in a single episode. Whether it’s trying to emulate every aspect of the game or it’s trying to find a stride of its own, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that it doesn’t work.
The animation, at least, is well above average. But, that doesn’t mean the fights are much the same. Every fight so far has been pretty forgettable because it tends to use the “super move flash attack” where the MC will move too quick for us to see, and he will have already won in that instant. Again, the animations of the fights aren’t bad. In fact, they’re pretty good! But, the choreography definitely detracts from any fun I could be having. Which brings my to my next point: the character designs. To be blunt, I’m not a fan. Partially because I hate it when characters are color-coded, mostly because the designs are rigid and unattractive.
I can’t even say much for the comedy. Half the third episode was a punchline for how it’s better to be at concerts rather than listening to them on CD/Vinyl, but it was a literal waste of time and effort that could have been better used for character or story development or , better yet, better spent not watching the show.
I’ll admit my thoughts are all over the place on this show, but that’s generally how the show is presented. It’s a smorgasbord of “things” in one “thing” but they’re all presented separately, rather than as a cohesive whole. I think maybe a younger, more immature, J.R would like this show because of how often they like to show off tits, ass, and upskirts, but the older and slightly more mature J.R needs more than titillation to sit through a show. Because, at that point, why wouldn’t I just watch a porno?
The point is: burying your audience in a pile of pink panties doesn’t make a show, nor do I consider it “hot” or “sexy” (anymore). As David once said, “There’s a reason they call it ‘putting you in the mood’, and this show definitely fails to put me in it”.