Spring 2015, part II

Milestone achieved today . . . my first [1]-rated pilot! Yay! Now you don’t have to watch it!


pastries

MY love STORY!!

Takeo Goda is a giant guy with a giant heart. Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They always go for his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.) Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn! Takeo can hardly believe it when he crosses paths with Yamato again, and he finds himself falling in love with her… But with handsome Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?

Takeo’s a good guy. His martial arts kouhai totally love him, and he’s instinctively protective (which is demonstrated twice and backfires . . . twice). But yeah, his BFF is a Mashima Taichi-looking fool called Sunakawa, who is both a chick magnet and 100% uninterested in girls, having been coldly shooting them down since kindergarten. (He’s voiced by Shimazaki Nobunaga of Haruka fame, if that tells you anything about the guy’s disposition.) Takeo’s not sure why they’re friends either, besides the fact that they grew up as neighbors and didn’t not get along, so . . . best friends?

train

But honestly, Suna’s alright too. In an epic example of wingmanning he slyly sets up Takeo to rescue the girl by pointing out a super shifty guy on the train, thus instigating Takeo’s protective tendencies. Yamato just happens to be incredibly not-shallow and responds positively to him. And yet he can’t help but see her ensuing attention as a way to get through to Suna.

this again

Despite having an overly syrupy voice, Yamato is quite genuine. Twice she brings the boys homemade baked goods (which she mixes by hand—cheesecake too! mixed by hand! feel the burn!), and she very sweetly offers Takeo a hankie when he returns from a self-imposed dunking in the bathroom sink. But the clincher for her character is that after they part ways, she books it to catch up to the boys again in order to get Takeo’s number.

running

Proactive and adorable.

The one problem I had is just how naive Takeo is at this moment—he’s still absolutely convinced that she’s into his friend, because they always are—even though she explicitly asks for Takeo’s number and is in no way acknowledging Suna’s presence at all. Suna, however, is bright enough to see the significance of all of this, and for a split second becomes the perspective character.

whoops

This is maybe the one time Suna is in focus and Takeo isn’t, implying there’s something he’s not saying (i.e., my very sexy yet mostly asexual body is attracted to the only girl that’s ever shown interest in you). The fact that we can’t see his eyes also hints at deceit; whether it’s self-directed, or whether he’s plotting manipulation, it’s hard to say. So . . . I’m pretty sure I’m in on this one. [4]


panties

PUNCH LINE

If he sees underwear, humanity will be destroyed!? An original anime series from the noitaminA block, PUNCH LINE centers on Yuta Iridatsu, a high school student, with a peculiar habit. When he sees a girl’s panties, he gets so excited he faints! After a certain incident with a ghost cat, his soul gets separated from his body. Using his special powers, Yuta watches the daily lives of the inhabitants of an apartment and sometimes plays tricks on them. Eventually, Yuta decides to unlock the secrets to why Earth will be destroyed and tries to save it!

The title is apt, as a series built around one. See a girl in panties once, Yūta goes superhuman. (This happens during a busjacking, and he singlehandedly takes out the perpetrators.) But see a girl in panties twice, Yūta goes supernova. (This somehow triggers an asteroid striking earth, thus ending humanity.)

Sigh.

Sigh.

Again, the blurb fails to mention “Strange Juice”, a magical girl who fights with a giant straw, which is pretty cute I guess. She and her friends also live in Yūta’s building and show up enough to be more than incidental, but whether or not they’re actually pivotal other than being the right gender to wear panties, it’s hard to say.

yaoi

I’m not sure, but thanks, I did need this.

She does have the best scene. Her magical girl transformation proceeds as expected, with crazy backgrounds and glitter and fabulous poses, until a picture-in-picture frame pops up showing real-time footage of what’s actually happening: she’s just dancing around her room. Her costume doesn’t magically appear on her person, instead anticlimactically falling from a modified light fixture. She then simply puts it on.

Which, of course, leads to panties.

Which, of course, leads to panties.

So there are a few things about this that I like. The art is kinda cute (there are gold highlights in their eyes, which I’ve never seen before and is quite pretty), and the main character, when he’s not falling victim to biology, is pretty sharp and . . . um . . . can lampshade things. Knows this is dumb?

he knows

Like, tsk . . . I don’t know, fuck it. Here are some of my notes.

> best part so far is the credits
> that better not be Park Romi [close, but Inoue Marina]
> omg I’m only halfway through
> he’s a spirit now so he can go back in time when he explodes the world
> but he can’t pick up a book . . . ?
> I’ve basically quit paying attention. also, I have ice cream, so. . . .

If this review feels disjointed, which it does, that’s because the show is. This shit is all over the place. And lazy in pretty much every way: animation, characters, plot (what plot), storytelling. The premise is also just really stupid. Inoue is wicked talented so the voice acting is top-notch—ugh, Kugimiya Rie too? I’m so disappointed—but that’s not near enough to keep me going. [1]


2015-04-14-233406

Plastic Memories

After failing his college entrance exams, 18 year-old Tsukasa Mizugaki is offered a position at the renowned SAI Corporation due to his father’s connections. SAI Corporation is known for its production and management of androids that possessed human emotions called Giftia. Tsukasa’s position is in the terminal service department where the main job is to recover Giftias that are close to their expiration, a graveyard department in every sense. To make matters worse, Tsukasa is ordered to work with Isla, a female Giftia who is never given any responsibility other than serving tea to co-workers.

Giftias are loaded with “synthetic souls” which are likened to operating systems. The OS only lasts about 9 years, after which the personality and memories of the unit begin to degrade quite rapidly. Some owners are resistant to returning their Giftias, probably because the terminal service retrieves them just before they begin to degrade. It’s not made clear what happens if they can’t convince the owners to sign off on release before that, but it doesn’t seem good.

2015-04-14-231804

Retrieval teams consist of one human and one Giftia. Isla had been retired from field work, but as Tsukasa is a late hire to the department, the coordinator of field ops (Kazuki) is grudgingly forced to pair them. She and Isla were once a team, and Kazuki remains very protective of her and almost possessive.

2015-04-14-232246

So it’s a bit surprising that she allows Isla back into the field at all. Isla isn’t incompetent, but she very obviously struggles with the emotional implications of her job. She spends much of the episode either as a nervous wreck or in deep introspection. And it is hinted that Isla is the oldest Giftia in the department, so her time is probably near as well. (Which, obvs, Tsukasa claims to have fallen in love with her at first sight.) So it’s kind of fucked up that Kazuki lets Isla back into the field at all. The department head did mention down-sizing—there appear to be less than a dozen individuals in the office—so maybe there really was no other way.

2015-04-14-230856

Which—yeah. No shit. Besides the Giftias working at the terminal service, the only other ones we see are living with elderly people as a kind of aide or surrogate family member. So one, taking companionship away from a lonely human, and two, terminating a Giftia (with a human capacity for emotion) seemingly prematurely. It sucks.

2015-04-14-233528

In fact things are so rooted in emotion that at first Tsukasa has trouble relating. He and Isla are tasked with retrieving a child-like Giftia, who is far more accepting of the situation than her stubborn, distraught owner. Tsukasa does his best to sell, because that’s all the information he’s got on his clipboard, offering the owner a discount on a new OS if installed in the same, uh, machine? body? It’s not that he’s so bumbling as to not recognize the significance of what’s happening in this woman’s life—he just doesn’t know how to handle it, or her, and the literature he’s been given sure as hell didn’t prepare him for this aspect of retrieval.

The animation isn’t super clean, but the movement is nice and emotive, with natural-feeling characters that teeter on the edge of reliable jerk. And the aesthetic is awesome, both domestic and futuristic without hitting on ’50s kitsch. From the description I fully expected some kind of playful sexy robot girlfriend story à la Chobits, but it turned out much darker and way more . . . Asimov than that. Also, yeah, I cried. That’s a thing that happened. This here is a good one. [5]

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