January 21, 2013

Vividred Operation Ep02

It's time once again for everybody's favorite hyperintelligent duck to shamelessly give the business to an innocent, unsuspecting anime.  I'll admit some reluctance to use the term "innocent" to describe Vividred Operation, as it seems very much like the Production Staff's familiarity with the word is passing at best.  Still, that's what makes these things so much fun, right?  I suppose an argument can be made that using the word "fun" to describe these episodic writeups may not be appropriate, but that's not for me to say.  I just write 'em and let you, my intelligent, good looking, well-dressed readers, make the call.  By the way, have I mentioned how great your hair looks?  Because it's flat-out amazing.  How do you get it to do that feathering-and-flip thing?  Seriously, I envy you your hair.

We pick up Ep02 pretty much where we left off in Ep01, with Akane (left) ascended to Magical Girl status amd Aoi (right) gazing lovingly into her eyes.  Just then, Gendo Plushyferret says that the two of them are the only people in the world that can fight the alien invaders, and they've got to prepare for docking.  Docking?  As in "symmetrical docking"?  I've completely changed my mind about this series, I'm all over it now!

Man, Vividred Operation has really moved into the big leagues now: it's got an OP and everything!  Too bad I'll never watch it... I actually (almost) never watch a show's OP, simply because of the spoilers that are usually contained therein.  That is, if I actually care about the series; if I don't, I'll watch once.  Yes, I know there are series where the OP is part of the show (the ARIA franchise) or changes every episode (the most recent HidaSketch); obviously that's different.  But in general, I'd rather be surprised.  Okay, now that I've got that out of my system, where's my docking?


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January 16, 2013

Vividred Operation Ep01

So there's really only one show that I'm even mildly excited about this season, and that's this one, Vividred Operation.  As I mentioned in the previous post, nobody has the faintest idea what's going to happen with it: it could be great, it could be stupid, it could be stupidly great!  Well, no matter how it shakes down, I'll be doing episodic reviews for it, probably on Saturdays.  It airs on Thursday, but there's that whole work thing to think about... I'm not as young as I used to be, alas.  I don't have as much energy, as much hair, or as many teeth as I did when I was a kid.  So let's take a look at this here show, let's see what we're being given to work with, shall we?

The City of Townsville! unknown moniker, and something seems a little out of place in it... like, maybe, the enormous tower in the center (thanks for pointing that out, Muppet!) that simply dwarfs everything in the vicinity?  Seriously, look at that thing, it's easily five times taller than the tallest structure nearby, and maybe twice as tall as the skyscrapers in the background.  In an earthquake-prone country, no less.  Can you imagine the number of zoning ordinances that had to be eased so it could be constructed?  Pilots flying into City must hate the thing with a passion, too.  Plus, it's clear that the powers that be are somewhat lax with their security methods.  To whit...

...there's this young woman, standing on the safety railing on the very top of the tower, watching the sun come up.  Completely unbelievable... I mean, there's not a single iPhone or camera in sight, and there's no way one of today's callow yoots wouldn't be recording this to post on myfaceinatube.com... with the camera held the wrong way.  Kids these days, I tell you.

Oh, so it's going to be THAT sort of show, huh?  Technically, she is wearing pants.  Lil' Miss Wallenda up there is, apparently, a member of O2STK, and nothing she does while on-screen clarifies her reason for existing. 

Yup, it's gonna be a good show for me.


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January 12, 2013

Question For The Pond Scum

My friends, I have a question for all of you.  As I'm sure you've noticed, my writeups for Ben-To! are occurring at a rate that makes snails seem fast.  I've been busier at work than I was expecting, and since it's an old show, I feel like I can "relax" with it.  But I couldn't do that with a show that's currently airing, and that's where the question comes in.

Vividread Operation has just begun to air over in Japan, and it seems to hold great promise as a subject of a Wonderduck Writeup.  SDB calls it a cross between Strike Witches and Nanoha, and I suppose that's correct, though to me it leans more towards the 'magical girl' side of the spectrum.  Whatever, I can see it being just as singularly stupid as Rio Rainbow Gate!, or as singularly good as Ga-Rei Zero.  So I leave it up to you, my friends and readers, the accumulated Pond Scum: do I finish Ben-To!, or do I drop it and go with Vividred Operation

You must choose... but choose wisely.

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January 08, 2013

Now And Again, Manga

Over at Brickmuppet's place, a recent contest (whyasnake) brought his favorite manga to the light of day.  As with all right-thinking individuals, it turns out that it's Yotsuba&!.  Careful readers of The Pond will remember that I have a special place in my torso for that title, which explains why it has to be my favorite manga of all time.

But let's face it, that doesn't make for a particularly exciting post, so I'm going to dig a little deeper into the stacks of manga in my collection to find two other favorites!  Join me, won't you?


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January 06, 2013

Panzer Vor (If You Know What I Mean)!

One of the many surprises involving the recent series Girls und Panzer was the lack of heavy fanservice.  Oh, don't get me wrong, the girls are cute and pleasant to look at, but pretty much the only true fanservice shots are for the tank aficionado.

Oh baby, do those treads go all the way up?
And that's fine, great even.  It's a wonderful thing when shows take the high road and avoids blatant pandering to succeed upon its own merits.  I mean, I love the Strike Witches franchise, but there's no way to use it as an example of the fine art of anime... there's just not enough pants in that show.  However, a casual glance at a well-known repository of anime-related fanart (link ridiculously NSFW) makes it clear that there's a demand for Girls und Panzer fanservice.  Which is why it should come as no surprise that the Blu-Ray release of the first volume of GuP in Japan contains an OVA...

Being devoted to my readers, I've decided to take on the challenge of providing suitable coverage of this OVA for your edification.  Join me, won't you, in an excursion into GuP OVA #1: Water War!


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January 04, 2013

Adventures In Anime Ordering

Now, far be it for me to say that I have wildly varying tastes in anime.  To be sure, I tend more towards the light comedy / slice-of-life genres, but that's hardly the only stuff I watch.  However, even I had to scratch my head when my latest order from Robert's showed up at the Duck U Bookstore...

One of these things is not like the others / which one is different, do you know?
I suppose it's possible to find more wildly dissimilar shows than HidaSketch and Black Lagoon, but you'd have to work at it.  Both are really good shows, but in completely different ways... and that just made me think of a crossover between the two series.  That makes me weep.  Yuno in Roanapur?  Sawyer the Cleaner at Hidamari Apartments?  Wait... that one would be pretty cool, actually.

I think I need sleep now.

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January 01, 2013

In Praise of Chuu2

Did you watch Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (aka "Chuu2") when it aired in the Fall season?

Well, did you?
If you didn't, you've missed something awfully special.  I'll admit, I was unable to watch it when it was airing, but I've made amends for that.  Wow, is this a good show.  The basic setup is simple: guy goes to highschool intent on leaving his fantasy-tainted youth (he called himself "Dark Flame Master"... in public) behind and just live a normal life.  Then he meets... her.

Rikka, possessor of the "Tyrant's Eye."  Or a colored contact lens.  One of the two.  Unlike Our Hero, she still believes in her fantasy-tainted youth; in fact, she lives it whole-heartedly.  I'll be honest... I was embarrassed on her behalf for the first episode.  Not like I emphasize with her or anything, heavens, no... I'm merely a hyperintelligent duck with the ability to type.  If you can get past that initial embarrassment, however, you find yourself in the middle of the best anime in quite a while, perhaps of all of 2012.

Along the way, Rikka decides to form a club and somehow manages to attracts other fantasists, including a cheerleader, an upperclassman, and a middleschooler, to her side... oh, and the Dark Flame Master gets dragged along, too.  Hijinks ensue.  Ridiculously entertaining hijinks, might I add.  There is a story being told here, which reveals itself around Ep06 or so, but it's a touching one, never angsty without good reason.  And for every angsty bit, there's humor and action aplenty, usually at the same time.

It should come as no surprise that, as a Kyoto Animation series, it's absolutely gorgeous.  Details that other companies would gloss over or ignore altogether get nearly as much attention as the main images.  Characterization is new and fresh, and I found myself actually caring about them.  For a flinty-souled duck like myself, this came as a stunning surprise.

I cannot recommend this show highly enough.  Go watch it.  What are you waiting for?

UPDATE: I neglected to mention something.  Blogsuki nailed it with his description of Rikka as an opposite-Haruhi Suzumiya.  Rikka doesn't have powers but acts like she does.  Haruhi DOES have powers, but doesn't realize it.  True, there's almost nothing else similar about them, but it's an excellent observation about their respective personalities.  Haruhi would simply hate Rikka... or pity her, which is even worse.

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