December 22, 2014

First Episode Writeup #3

As I mentioned earlier, I was working on another First Episode Writeup when I wound up putting it on hold to work on a different one, one that forced its way into my attention.  I received two different e-mails from Robert featuring a show that I knew absolutely nothing about.  Then I bumped into it again somewhere else, and I just gave up and watched it.  And it was perfect writeup fodder!  I benched the half-done writeup and immediately started on this... and now, with no further ado, let's get right the heck to it!

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Skippy.

Skippy is a boy after my own heart, and I suspect most of my readers will identify closely with him as well.  Y'see, he's a bibliophile.  Indeed, that weird pose above is due to Our Hero being in the middle of a truly stupid happydance.  Now don't get me wrong, I love books and bookstores as much as anybody and more than most, but I've never done a happydance upon arrival at one.  That should tell you what sort of individual we're dealing with here.  Yup, he's a Skippy!

A bagful of hardcovers, a points card, and a cute bookstore employee?  It's exactly how Wonderduck first met The Librarian!  Except for the points card, I didn't have one of those yet.  Or the bagful of hardcovers.  I think I bought a paperback and a magazine.  Cute bookstore employee though?  That part meshes.  Except that The Librarian looks nothing like the employee in the picture.  Okay, can we just say I once met The Librarian in a bookstore?  Cool.  By the way, can you guess what Skippy is reacting to here?  Hint: it's not the cute bookstore employee.

Oh.  Hm.  I'm starting to identify less and less with Skippy.  Hopefully most if not all of my readers are feeling the same.  Our Hero's family moved to the hinterlands of Japan due to father's job, but Skippy refused to leave... out there, new release books are often delayed, and that just will not stand.  So they left him behind in the city, as long as his grades stay high.  Yeah, well, duh on that part.  Look at him!  You think he can't get whatever grades he wants?  He's Skippy.  He can do what he wants!  Except for one thing.

He cannot read the final book of the "Seven Sins" series by Akimaya Shinobu.  Because it hasn't been released yet, and while all of Japan is looking forward to it, Skippy really really wants to read it now.  In something of an unhealthy way, if you know what I mean.  Alas, he can move heaven and earth and it won't hasten the arrival of the book one iota.

So while he waits, Skippy reads everything else in sight every waking minute of the day.  This Akimaya person has never been seen in public and writes everything from rom com to sci fi to any other abbreviation you can think of.  Basically he (if he is a he)'s Isaac Asimov, just without the non-fiction.  Like probably everybody that visits The Pond, Our Hero finds a visceral pleasure in reading in restaurants.  Actually, he finds a visceral pleasure in reading anywhere, but roll with it, huh?  So he's reading in a charming little cafe, though he's dismayed when he realizes he's lost his wallet.  At that moment...

...gun crime is so rare in Japan that in 2006 there were only two gun murders nationwide.  Most guns are illegal.  Air rifles are okay.  Strangely enough, so are shotguns, though you need to take a test, register it with the police, store ammo separately in a locked container, retest every few years, and let the police inspect it regularly.  I have a hunch that hoodyguy up there hasn't bothered with any of that.  Oh, and for the record?  I suspect it's a Mossberg, but I can't find an exact match with any of the major companies.  Maybe one of The Pond's guy folk can figure it out... here's the unresized picture if you want to have a go.

Hoodyguy is annoyed that not everybody is terrified of him... indeed, the lass in the corner doesn't even seem to realize he exists as she writes away.  I get the same way when I do these writeups, except I would react if someone holding a shotgun was screaming at me to stand up and pointing it at me.  To be blunt, it'd just be a good thing that I regularly wear black pants and I leave it at that.

Our Hero, however, is just young and stupid enough to be having none of that noise.  The struggle doesn't last very long, and hoodyguy kicks Skippy to the floor.  He pants and wheezes for a second or two, then starts to get up again.  Our boy Skippy, he's got some fight in him.  Not a lot of brains, but fight.

Are we about to find out just how much brains he's got?  Nah, this is anime.  When was the last time you saw someone shot in the face in anime without being a zombie, android/cyborg, or mook in Gunslinger Girl?  Certainly never Our Hero!

Speaking of which, it's probably time to reveal the name of this paragon of the entertainment industry.  Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to...

...or Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyo, or InuHasa.  Based on a series of light novels (like what isn't these days?), this anime aired back in July of 2013.  Studio Gonzo, dragging itself out of the financial hell they found themselves in back in 2009, were the lucky buggers who got to adapt it to the animated visual medium.  Lucky us.  Where were we? 

Oh.  Looks like I was right about one thing, though: not a lot of brains.  In most circumstances like this, we'd assume that Skippy's life was snuffed out like a switch was thrown... not so!  While he's fading fast, he has time to see the girl writing in the corner booth.  She's still writing like nothing important is happening.  If Our Hero was alive he'd undoubtedly feel affronted, but he's not anymore, so he isn't.

As he floats through an afterlife-space that looks like an insane teenage girl with a glitter addiction designed it, images flash before his eyes: mom and dad and the cat, a young girl that calls him brother, the owner of the bookstore and his daughter Sakura, and some depressed girl who is earnestly apologizing for using oxygen... and then, ultimately, the bookshelves in his apartment.  It is only then that he realizes that he will never read the final book in Akimaya Shinobu's series, and he gets pissed.  He can't die yet!  He just can't!  There are books he still wants to read.  I think Mr Mossberg had something to say about that, but who am I?  All his struggling actually appears to have an effect, though.

The final book appears in front of him.  I have to admit, I'm impressed.  I don't know that I have anything that I'd rail against a shotgun blast to the face to do/read/see one last time.I just assume that my rubber duckies will be joining me on the journey to Fólkvangr.  Surprisingly, as he touches the cover, everything goes black.  Well.  That was an interesting show, wasn't it?  Moving on, the next show in the First Episode Writeup series will be..., wait!  Skippy's alive?  A guy with huge collars and an afro is talking to him, calling him "dog", but in a kindly way, and heading off to get him food.  Our Hero is overjoyed at being alive, but that lasts for only a second or two until he catches a glimpse of himself in a mirror.

Yup, he's a dog all right.  Dachshund, as a matter of fact.  He's not exactly thrilled.  I'm of the opinion that he should stop whining, since he had his damnfool head blown clear off a few screenshots ago.  Turns out that the guy with the afro found him in in a box in the rain, near death.  He brought Skippy back to the pet shop he runs, where we find ourselves now.  Our Hero isn't adjusting well.

Particularly because he hasn't been able to read anything for a full week and he's getting really frickin' stir-crazy.  Of course, it's all the worse because the shopowner is a reader as well.  On the other hand, he's not planning on selling Our Hero, just keep him as the store pet/mascot/whatever.  Until...

...SHE walks in.  She looks familiar to Skippy, but nothing's clicking in his little brain.  I suppose this makes sense: how often do you get to see the last person you saw before you died again?  Holy crap was that an awkward sentence, and not one I ever would have considered flowing from my fingers before I watched this show.  Thanks, production staff!  I owe it all to you.  Anyway, SHE walks up to Skippy's cage, looks in, and directly asks him "Is it you?"  Our Hero is completely confused, and it gets even worse when she asks him the same question again.  Seemingly satisfied, she insists that she'll be buying Skippy.  Of course, he's not for sale.

SHE begs to differ.  She whips a pair of ornate scissors from a custom leg holster, slashes the metal bars of the cage, which promptly explode, and purchases Skippy.  Scissors.  Y'know what?  Once upon a time, there was a pretty good series entitled Mysterious Girlfriend X.  The female lead had a remarkable skill with scissors, too.  That particular show was set sometime in the 1980s or very early 1990s.  If the two leads from that show got married and had a daughter around 1995, she'd be about the same age as HER.  Just sayin'.  Anyway... Skippy has been removed from the pet store, yay!

Oh.  Well.  She's a sadist, great, just want I wanted from my anime: animal cruelty.  THAT'S entertainment!  Seems that a few days ago, she started to hear two things in her head, a dog barking and Skippy's voice.  As a result, she's been scouring pet shops trying to find the culprit that's bothering her.  Yep, she can hear Our Hero's thoughts.  And she wants them to stop, so she's simply going to kill him.

Unsurprisingly, I'm okay with this.  Also unsurprisingly, he's not.  He starts to lament the events that brought him to this point, and when he gets to the robbery, the penny drops for both of them.  She's that girl in the corner booth, he's the guy who got his fool head blown off.  Of course, questions are asked, like how she can hear his thoughts, but no answers are forthcoming.  Disturbed, she leaves to take a shower and change...

...into this.  Gonzo, Gonzo, Gonzo... I'm disappointed with your obvious attempt at fanservice.  I'm not complaining about it, just disappointed in it.  Her name is Kirihime Natsumo, by the way.  She offers to let Skippy stay with her, which he finds suspicious... after all, she was preparing to kill him just a few minutes ago.  Realizing that he's a dog, though, he accepts... and when she asks if there's anything she needs, he naturally (well...) replies "books."

She's got as many books as some libraries in her penthouse apartment.  She's ridiculously wealthy, as well she might be.  She's Akiyama Shinobu, his favorite author.  Once that sinks in, he immediately demands that she finish the new book in "The Seven Deadly Sins" series.  Of course... what else would he want?

Apart from being a writer, she's a skilled cook and martial artist... all skills she's learned so to make her writing more realistic.  So, basically, she's a supergenius with a penchant for violence, swell.  She's also started to be a touch more friendly towards Skippy.

Which is good, because all the news coverage about how his murderer is still at large has managed to turn him into one big depressionball.  Of course, Kirihime can hear all his thoughts... thoughts which drive her to make a decision.  She makes a phone call...

...and the next day, the two of them are standing outside Skippy's apartment building.  They are there, she says, "to settle a score."  Cue dramatic music, fade to black, roll credits.

Well.  That was something, at least.  It doesn't surprise me that I heard nothing about the show when it was running, and I probably wouldn't have watched it anyway if I had.  However, there's a certain quality to the show that I find interesting.  Maybe not good enough to watch the entire show, but it's undoubtedly there.  Be darned!  I can give it a lukewarm recommendation, but that's only from one episode.  It might get better.

Next time: more zombies!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:17 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 2127 words, total size 15 kb.

1 I heard nothing about the show either. Oh, poor Gonzo. Gone are the days when having your name on a project meant people would at least pay attention...

(The Jam. Deep cut there, man.)

Posted by: GreyDuck at December 22, 2014 08:16 AM (AQ0bN)

2 It's all my fault...

Posted by: Bob (aka Robert) at December 22, 2014 11:05 AM (/38s5)

3 Karmaburn had a write-up that made me go watch it.  It's pretty dumb, but amusing in a shaggy-dog sort of way, if you don't mind them beating the flat-chested, sadism, and bestiality jokes so deep into the ground they might as well apply for fracking permits and make a business of it.

Posted by: Mitch H. at December 22, 2014 12:57 PM (jwKxK)

4 I'm pretty sure that shotgun's not a Mossberg or a Remington; for one thing, what should be the ejection port is not shaped right.

Posted by: Rick C at December 23, 2014 08:51 AM (ECH2/)

5 The fact that it has three sights on it is also rather non-shotgun-like.

Posted by: Mauser at December 23, 2014 03:56 PM (TJ7ih)

6 Oh, man! I loved this show! It was sometimes so hilarious! It even had a fairly good plotline!

Of course, it was also massively wrong, what with the musical number in the credits, and the fairly far out fanservice for guys, and the horrific threats to the hero, and the whiplash between realism and total bizarre satire of the Japanese publishing industry. But they actually have some kind of explanation for most of it, which is when you become deeply afraid.

The author duel show was particularly strange.

Posted by: at December 23, 2014 08:57 PM (ZJVQ5)

7 Oh, and the sister with the horrific curry. I think she starts showing up in the 2nd ep. She would have been funnier if they hadn't made incest jokes, but nothing along those lines actually happened or was of interest to the hero. (Thank goodness.) And even though the agent is a funny character, I'm afraid they do drive that into the ground every episode.

It's paced weirdly, too. The last half of the series moves a lot better than the first half.

So yeah, one of those shows. But worth surviving for the good parts.

Posted by: at December 23, 2014 09:02 PM (ZJVQ5)

After some pondering I decided that underneath some artistic simplification is a Benelli tactical  gun.  Probably an M3 because it looks like a pump action, and that was the one which added a user-selectable pump mode to the semiautomatic design M1 and M2  (this is a highly unusual feature to make it more reliable with lower powered specialty rounds sometimes used by police). 

I'd further guess that it's a Super 90  with five-round magazine and standard stock and sights (as opposed to the higher capacity magazine that goes all the way to the end of the barrel, pistol-grip stock, ghost-ring sights, and other options). 

See for instance (real) (Airsoft)


Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at December 24, 2014 10:18 PM (470Py)

9 Good eye!

Posted by: Mauser at December 25, 2014 12:47 AM (TJ7ih)

10 Normally I would delete AAPAspera's comment for using raw urls instead of links.

Upon inspection, however, I discovered that AAPAspera is in fact my uncle, who is much cooler than me.  Seeing that that is the case, I'll let it slide.

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 25, 2014 01:24 AM (jGQR+)

11 Ha Ha, I love how you mentioned what isn't based off light novels these days. Not too off the mark, observation. Not everthing is but almost everything.
And finally someone else into this series. I think maybe the reason this wasn't as heard of was over it being hard to described to others. If it is hard to describe since it is such an oddball. So if you can't describe it without it all being seeming ridiculous how will others discover it?
I actually blogged this series when it first premiered. Glad you gave this a chance!

Posted by: Cassandra @ The Huge Anime Fan blog at January 13, 2015 07:54 PM (eJmS3)

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