Mawaru Penguin Drum and [email protected] are over

Bored to Death and Hung were cancelled. I have nothing good to watch now, whether Western or anime. I like Kimi to Boku, but not so much that I actually look forward to watching it or anything. There’s nothing like that left.

I’m happy that exams are over (but I quit anime again)

I'm a winner.

I quit anime again. Initially this was because I figured I’d be playing Skyrim right now but I’ve been embraced by one of my periodic waves of morality and decided that I will buy it instead. In keeping with that decision, however, I’ll now be waiting a year or so until the price decreases.

If I’m not watching anime or playing Skyrim though I have no real reason to keep writing anything. I never have anything interesting to say anyhow. I’m to media consumers as Takeru Kobayashi is to diners. I’m the least discerning viewer out there.

Calling someone a Type B anime viewer can have a pejorative connotation. I once maintained the delusion that I could claim to be a Type A viewer because I count series and films like Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, NHK ni Youkoso! and Satoshi Kon movies among my all-time favourites. But I can no longer delude myself about being a Type A viewer when I’ve also seen Okusama wa Joshikousei. I’m not a connoisseur, I’m a garbage disposal.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Hoarders on television. This is a reality TV show in which camera crews and TV therapists exploit people who suffer from chronic disorganization and clutter in their homes. Some of these people are really hopeless nutcases who pose a danger to themselves and their neighbours, but others are just normal people who have too much junk in their homes. Part of the definition of a “hoarder” that the show employs is that, regardless of the type of item that the patient accumulates, it must be relatively worthless. Occasionally they profile people who do collect valuable items. They’re not hoarders; they’re collectors. I see an analogy between the behaviours of these people and my own omnivorous appetite for pandering, derivative, clichéd shows that rely on preexisting, done to death tropes rather than taking a leap and telling an interesting story.

If it weren’t for FTTH and my lack of ethics, I’d be the ideal consumer. I can easily imagine myself buying any Blu-ray with an attractive cover design, any video game with voice actors I like, and anything associated with a studio that produced a single franchise that I may have once enjoyed, regardless of how abhorrent their subsequent work may have been. I have no taste whatsoever. The only reason I can associate somewhat competently with people when they talk about anime masterpieces is because I watch everything. The principle of averages means that it’s inevitable that I eventually watch some gems with the kind of methodology I employ.

Having said that, I’ve stalled on one of the only two shows I’m keeping up with this season: Idolmaster. To my credit, I’m still watching the type A show, Mawaru Penguin Drum. The opening of this most recent episode reminded me of that famous painting which, proving to myself that I’m not a complete buffoon, I knew was by Seurat, though I had to look up the name,

This show is great, but I sometimes find that, rather than strain my head to try and construct some understanding of the overall plot, I just say to myself, “Fuck it. I’ll give the show the benefit of the doubt that it’s profound”. The more abstract an episode is and the harder the narrative thread is to discern, the more likely I am to be impressed yet the less likely I am to understand why.

Figuring out exactly what I am supposed to be most impressed by is too much effort so I sometimes skip the drawn-out post-viewing contemplation session and jump ahead to the part where I just give the show credit for saying something incisive, deconstructing some taken-for-granted assumption about the social world, or challenging my preconceived notions about some social construct, even without knowing which cornerstone of my worldview has just been shattered. It could be all of them for all it matters. Something is certainly being chipped away at. It just remains to be seen exactly what.

As for my vengeance driven experiment, I’ll go ahead and try to resume that next week. I couldn’t very well count how many people were using electronic devices while taking exams. Incidentally, I don’t know whether I should do a facepalm or be impressed at the security-by-obscurity tactic to prevent forgeries used by the City University of New York on their official department stamps:

One more thing: child broiler? What is that? a German fairy tale?

Masako is a more likable character than Ringo (and day 5)

I want to say sardonically, "Simpsons did it" but the irony is that it wasn't nearly this funny or absurd when they did; it was actually one of the most heartfelt and serious episodes in the series.

I like stalker characters quite a bit and really enjoyed all of Ringo’s episodes pursuing Tabuki. I also enjoyed learning about Momoka and watching her strained relationship with Shouma develop in the wake of the actions of the Takakura parents. It’s all very fun and the idea of being stalked by a high school girl never really loses it’s appeal, but I’ve decided that Masako is, nonetheless, a more endearing character. Her charm is how mysterious she is. The viewer is scared of what she’s capable of and, until episode 16, knows very little about her, which lets the viewer’s imagination run wild.

As for the table, it would get unreasonably long if I kept including all previous days. I don’t know how long I’m going to keep this experiment up, but, at the very least, I shouldn’t give up until I’ve recorded at least 10 days. At the end of 10 days I suppose I’ll make a table of all the results.

Abstract here
 

Day #Offences for male students (within 5 minutes of start of class) #Total offences for male students (inclusive)
5 4 4
Day #Offences for female students (within 5 minutes of start of class) #Total offences for female students (inclusive)
5 4 7
Day #Total offences(Male + Female) %Offenders [%Offenders(adjusted)]
5 11 22% [36.667%]

I’m bored this season so I’m going to try to watch all of Sailor Moon

I will fail, but it’s worth a try. I never watched it when I was a little kid because my room looked like this and I was already mistaken for a girl frequently enough.

I will now marathon through my reasons for being underwhelmed this season:

There’s barely anything I think I can bear to watch this season. Perhaps there are some good shows, but I have profoundly deep-seated genre biases: I don’t like mecha or battle shows. Horizon is a school battle trainwreck that interests me even less than Karutamon. Gundam is mecha, Majikoi is a school battle erotic trainwreck, Mirai Nikki looks like it’ll be a boring battle to the death scenario I’ve seen countless times before, Phi Brain is shounen puzzle bullshit, Tamayura is pleasant and heart-warming but slow as watching paint dry, Persona is based on a game too erudite and long for me to appreciate or even play, Busou Shinki is based on a series of action figures, Maken-ki is basically the poor man’s version of Ladies versus Butlers! and I haven’t yet seen Un-Go.

image

I’ll watch Ika-musume because it’s wholesome and the protagonist is adorable. I’ll watch Haganai because it will inevitably be the most popular, if not best, of the season and if I don’t watch it, I’ll feel out of the loop later on. I’ve heard Kimi to Boku referred to as K-ON! with boys. K-ON! is too good to be compared to Kimi to Boku; a more apt analogy would be to say that it’s like A Channel with boys. I found A Channel about as mediocre as anything could possibly be. There was nothing overwhelmingly wrong with it, but it didn’t do anything to stand out from other similar shows of the same genre that I’ve seen. That’s what Kimi to Boku feels like. My feelings for it may change if it gets significantly angstier or if a shota enters the cast. As for C^3, I’ve only watched the first episode so far but the sudden girlfriend appearance premise never gets old and I like clumsy girls from other dimensions/planets/planes of existence who aren’t familiar with the ways of us earthlings, just like Ika-musume. I’ll try watching Mashiroiro Symphony but I may drop it if it’s disappointing like Yosuga no Sora. I’ll watch Working`!! because I’ve grown to like it.

I just watched the first episode of Guilty Crown without, as usual, knowing what it was about beforehand. I am disappointed by the prevalence of explosions and robots. Those are demerits according to my genre biases. On the other hand, there are skintight powersuits, neat character designs, and Sephiroth, all of which mean I will at least try a few more episodes before giving up.

Though I say that few of these shows pique my interest, if I have the time, I’ll inevitably end up watching some of them. Nonetheless, [email protected] and Penguindrum will be getting the lion’s share of my attention this season, just as they did last season.

Himariiiiiiiiii!111!

I told you stupid writers that I couldn't take it if you did this to Himari again!

This episode was too psychedelic and metaphorical and I’m too illiterate to say anything about it. Even if I had waited for English subtitles to watch it I wouldn’t have understood shit. At least there was a bright red glowing orb that looked like incest.

Poor Shouma

You silly duck; that's not how you eat pudding!

He didn’t ask to be involved in this mess with Ringo, penguins, and kidnappers. I’m not very smart or observant, so I don’t have any criticism of this episode, but it was fun and I’ve now developed a feeling of obligation to take amusing screenshots every week while watching the episode and make obvious and inane comments about them, even when I didn’t pay much attention to the episode. Now we know who that orange-haired girl is. Well, we still don’t know who she is exactly, but she and her penguin are up to no good at least.

I also feel bad for Ringo now. She’s not a villain. Yes, she did cause Shouma to get hit by a car, and she is more or less to blame for his life being put in danger, his getting kidnapped and having this and that done to him, but now that we know her sob story about rejection and Momoka and her daddy issues, I feel bad for her. She doesn’t need to go through all this.

I’d also like to know what the hell kind of hospital Shouma is in. It looks like a printed circuit board. Or the inside of Manhattan Mini Storage!

As Kanba progresses from one storage unit to another, descending the stairs into deeper and deeper levels of his memory, as it were, I was reminded of Kaiba, which I just watched for the first time this week. It reminded me of how Warp uses that gun thing to open what looks like a thought balloon above the head of a person whose thoughts he wants to enter.

I still don’t remember the name of that orange-haired Pigeon Blood lady. I don’t even remember if we ever learned her name and I’m too lazy and important to go check. I think she’s called Masako, but I’m not sure. Is she just another of Kanba’s many ex-girlfriends? One thing is for sure: it seems she went to medical school with Dr. Irabu:

The last episode of that penguin show looked just like Bakemonogatari

…with all these panoramic shots of big landscapes, repeating geometric backgrounds with lots of straight lines, right angles, and characters tilting their heads to the side with their faces half-covered in late afternoon shadow.

Sora no Ana…I saw that movie. It took place in Hokkaido and was pretty mellow as I recall.

I had one of those sliding puzzle things when I was a kid. Coincidentally, instead of numbers, it had a picture of a penguin that you were supposed to construct by sliding the pieces around. It was pretty aggravating until I figured out that I could pick the pieces off the board using my fingernail and then reattach them in the proper positions.

Looking like Bakemonogatari is a good thing though. The whole episode was just such a pleasure to look at. Although I kept thinking of Bakemonogatari throughout the entire episode, it still had some of the familiar theatrical elements in it that have been present throughout the series, such as spotlights and other lighting effects that make scenes look as though they’re on a stage before an audience.

Unfortunately, also like Bakemonogatari, this bara — I mean unmei — no hanayome stuff makes it clear this show will now be denounced by those pesky foreign feminists as guilty of sexualizing children. Maybe Antonin Scalia will solidify his place as the Justice about whom I have the most conflicted feelings and defend media like this as he’s done when it comes to similar concerns with video games. It feels so peculiar liking that guy.

Mawaru Penguin Drum: I need to pay more attention to plot details

Tee-hee: those things look like boobies!

I’ve watched episodes 07 and 08 and now I’m more confused than ever. Part of the problem is because I’m used to watching simple-minded school comedy shows and overwrought shoujo bullshit that demand little attention to be paid. This show is a big transition from those genres for me. I’ve actually watched one or two episodes twice now, but I still keep forgetting which characters are which and how they’re related. This really demonstrates the scanty limits of my attention span because there are neither very many characters thus far nor are the relationships particularly complex.

See? I can't even remember the name of this one, despite the fact that she's obviously a pretty important character

That said, the fact that I’m too feeble-minded to remember even the most prominent elements of the plot doesn’t stop me from looking forward to every episode. I mean, what the hell are these red ping pong ball things that the light-haired character is shooting at people? Is she like, turning them into zombies or something?

Zombies would actually be pretty cool. The last show with zombies that I watched was High School of the Dead, and that was less than completely satisfying. I just watched a show on the History Channel about Haitian zombies in which some self-styled “scientists” concluded that zombies are not only real, but they’re created by a very simple process of first feeding a normal person some tetrodotoxin that priests extract from a local type of fugu fish. If done properly, the person then becomes completely paralyzed, so much so that even western doctors can mistake the patient for a corpse. You then bury the person and, later, when the victim recovers, he or she will rise from the dead and be a zombie. Of course, the fact that the amount of tetrodotoxin that would kill a human, according to Wikipedia is a mere 8 micrograms, it seems rather unlikely that there will be any zombie survivors of this process knocking at my door demanding my scrumptious brains any time soon. But you can never be too careful, so I’ll still be sure to cover all my belongings, self, and home with zombie repellent.

The segments about Ringo make me hungry because she's always reminding me of the "Happy Family" dish with shrimp, chicken and beef from the Chinese restaurant here.

I liked all the new revelations recently, such as how Ringo is adopting for herself and fulfilling Momoka’s fate in her stead. The way in which these, by all counts, extremely dramatic, even sombre moments are recalled in flashback with a high degree of absurdity and even some inexplicable humour are really are out there, like the scene about remembering Momoka on Ringo’s birthday in which the mother is a kappa and the father is some kind of teddy bear. Then the house is suddenly underwater and the two get attacked by an eel that reminded me of the big scary eel in the Jolly Roger Bay stage in Super Mario 64 that I was scared of when I was younger.

This also goes to further explain her delusions about — or rather fascination with — Tabuki and “Project M”, which, in light of recent events, we’re lead to believe stands for “maternity”.

Ringo Oginome is really one of the more interesting characters in any anime in recent memory.

It was funny that what Ringo took for an invitation to a date actually had her end up going to watch the Curry Lady perform in her frilly Frenchy fairy tale story which Tabuki, of course, is profoundly moved by. Ringo’s imagination is as wild as ever. I like her imagining Curry Lady as a killer whale.

Stupid Curry Lady had to go and invite Ringo and Shouma to her frilly hoity-toity actor snob party. Poor Shouma gets ordered around by Ringo even at the party. What a cruel-hearted, malevolent, sadist of a whale she is, inviting Ringo to the party just to announce her stupid engagement in front of her. What are you trying to do, Curry Lady? Drive her to kidnap Tabuki? She’s liable to do it.

It does, by the way, look like I was correct about the Men in Black. They are up to something sneaky with those ping pong balls. Either that or the long hiatus has forced Don Draper to venture into the world of cartoons.

But the thing that really keeps me watching this show, besides the penguins, is the sheer weirdness of it all. There are very few shows in which miracle frogs are used to make love potion number 9 in a sauna.

gero gero

Then what’s up with that ending? Is Ringo no longer just your run-of-the-mill stalker but an actual rapist? That’s a pretty appealing thought, but it’s more in line with an eroge than a mainstream TV anime so I doubt things will play out like I started imagining them in my head…which is a bit unfortunate.