Hentai Nazi …exists.

hentai killed hitler, good MEM. Sorry the lighting is so bad in this screenshot is so bad, but that’s just the game itself.

[Ugh, it’s been a while. Through late February and early March, I was just too busy with work and applications to write. But then the virus hit and I gave up on having any sort of routine, even a leisurely one for this blog. It’s hard to find anything interesting to observe when you’re stuck in a box.]

Steam is a mess. Of course, it’s been a mess for a long time, at least since the now defunct Steam Greenlight voting system permitted a trickle of low quality indie games onto the platform that has since exploded into a torrent of low-effort, low-value shovelware that crowds out higher-quality releases. Steam has recently begun to clean up its worst offenders but, for the most part, it’s still anything goes.

Sooo, bored inside during quarantine, let’s introduce Hentai Nazi, a typical Unity Engine shovelware game that for some reason floated to the top of my Steam recommendations feed. It’s terrible!

But with nothing else to do during this dull coronavirus lockdown, and leeching off my computer for any inch of entertainment, I impulse bought it. And god damn am I going to get my 89 cents of value out of it, even at 55% off. I finished the game itself in less than an hour though so I’ll need to drag out the entertainment for a little while longer…

Let’s write a ~review~

Continue reading “Hentai Nazi …exists.”

Magia Record in colors. Subheading: tries, fails to convince me that being a magical girl is suffering

Those sharp chins. Make me a pentagon girl!

[Uh, I meant to leave that “subheading” there. What am I doing with myself, no sleep, non-tent mania…]

Hey, so Magia Record’s on. How’about a salon shop chat? Have you seen the hair colors on the girls? Um, per-fect. Check it, above or below:

Continue reading “Magia Record in colors. Subheading: tries, fails to convince me that being a magical girl is suffering”

Beastars is Tokyo Ghoul done right

The stop-motion opening song is great. Even if you can’t yet watch the whole series on Netflix, at least go watch that on Youtube.

Once-upon-a-time, I watched the anime Tokyo Ghoul on the recommendation of a gaggle of nerdy middle schoolers. I didn’t really like it. But, for my students, maybe I could enjoy their enjoyment of the show even if I regret lying to them that I did like it to win some “cool teacher points.” It was, at least, something to talk about.

Now though, with the conclusion of the fall 2019 anime Beastars, about a high school for anthropomorphized animals struggling through a conflict between herbivores and carnivores that results in the murder of an alpaca, I finally have something good to suggest to my students in Tokyo Ghoul‘s place — because Beastars does everything that Tokyo Ghoul tried to do, just better, from themes about discrimination and growing up to its general production quality (even despite Beastar’s sometimes awkward 3D animation).

First then, I suppose I should briefly re-explain my distaste for Tokyo Ghoul before moving on to my recommendation for Beastars itself:

~ because it’s not like anybody’ll click that over-sized link above!

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Are gacha game adaptations the next front in bad anime?

I dunno, they’re anthropomorphized swords doing Halloween or something. It’s bizarre. I just pulled an image off the official website because I couldn’t be bothered to watch again for screenshots.

For the past year or so, I’ve made casual tradition out of picking out the worst-rated anime towards the end of each season just to… see. I’ve covered a few here on this site and avoided writing about several others because I couldn’t even finish a single episode. But with the addition of the anime short Tenka Hyakken: Meiji-kan e Youkoso! (rated 4.8 out of 10) to the bottom of my list this season, I’ve begun to pick up on a trend that I had never noticed before:

All of the worst, or at least the most bizarre, of my bad selections in recent months originated as adaptations of gacha or collectible card games.

Continue reading “Are gacha game adaptations the next front in bad anime?”

When does Girls’ Last Tour take place? …and why it might not matter

No computer, no screenshots — I got a scan!

[computer still broken, so a short phone ramble]

When does Girls’ Last Tour (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou) take place? I googled the question and found no answer on the first few result pages. So, while re-reading the manga through a surprise digital detox sprung on me by a broken computer, I thought I could provide an answer:

Continue reading “When does Girls’ Last Tour take place? …and why it might not matter”

Porco Rosso is a surprisingly apolitical disappointment

Maybe more like a thumbs sideways?

Porco Rosso, the 1992 anime film about a flying pig-pilot who does battle with sky pirates in interwar Adriatic floatplanes, might be Studio Ghibli / director Hayao Miyazaki’s most memed movie. In addition to that thumbs-up image above, plenty of lines make common appearances on anime meme boards like “You make me think humanity’s not a complete waste,” “Laws don’t apply to pigs,” and the classic “Better a pig than a fascist:”

On sourcing: my computer broke this week so I referenced this script for quotes and pulled screenshots from stupid meme posts on reddit. As the memes show, lots of different fan-sub versions float around out there so sorry for any inconsistencies.

But for all the memes, Porco Rosso is a surprisingly apolitical film, with those lines representing more throw-away jokes than a vigorous thematic ideal. Yes, the titular character Porco is a typical anti-authority anti-hero who chafes under the rule of Depression-era Italian fascists. But he’s also such a severe misanthrope that if he happens to take anti-fascist action, he only does so because the facists happen to be in charge. Combine that apathetic position with what might be Miyazaki’s weakest feminist message among his otherwise excellent cast of believable female characters and I don’t know what to do with Porco Rosso. Yes, it’s beautiful, as all Ghibli movies are. But despite the anti-fascist hype, it lacks much of Miyazaki’s characteristic thematic focus. In a word (or two), it disappoints.

Continue reading “Porco Rosso is a surprisingly apolitical disappointment”

Assassin’s Pride: the juvenile anime I wanted but no longer deserve

[Oh, this is a “spoilers but who cares” style post. But who cares, Assassin’s Pride has nothing surprising to spoil.]

My face when watching. But then Kufa does something insane like reattach his own severed arm and I burst out laughing again.

I often feel that much of the online English-language anime commentariat – including myself — have miscalibrated target-demographic detectors, even despite the prevalence of descriptive age-gender labels like “shounen — boy” and “shoujo — girl” across the industry. Why apply adult standards to a series for six-year olds? I don’t know, but a lot of people do.

Ah, but with Assassin’s Pride from this fall 2019 anime season, there can be no doubt: this series is a tweeny delight. I am twelve and want more like this.

Assassin’s Pride cries out for the creation of a wave of teenage fanfiction full of cosplay-in-writing anti-heroes to express the darkness in every youth’s ultimately good soul, if only society would accept their oppressed status as a half-lancanthrope. That is to say, if Assassin’s Pride isn’t fanfiction itself — I mean, check it:

Assassin’s Pride left and Sword Art Online right. Same widow’s peak hair dongle on the male leads and same bunny hair baubles on the female leads. Kirito and Asuna clone characters, check ✓.

Assassin’s Pride is perhaps the most juvenile anime I have ever seen – and I do seek them out with great zeal every season. Let’s skip the plot and character summaries here because if you’ve seen any other shounen adventure series in the past decade or so, you’ve seen Assassin’s Pride; it uses every oldest trick in the inoffensive teenage edge-appeal book. I don’t know how better to structure this sarcastic trope accounting though, so let’s make an arbitrary checklist:

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The many faces of Mile: Noukin has a solid working formula

[Busy –> Lazy, hash-tag-self-cringe]

Hm, I guess it really is just one face. But Mile’s moods carry the whole show (Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!Noukin for short, I guess. The title’s even longer in English so I can’t be bothered to copy-paste it again).

Noukin has a simple, solid formula for its semi-parody: whenever some stupid tropey-dopey anime or isekai thing pops up, played seriously by the supporting cast — pop — a disbelief face in reaction from our lead heroine Mile. After all, why attempt to dispute the ridiculous foundations of the isekai genre when you could just stare in disbelief?

I like it best when the faces *pop* across just a single frame. Low animation quality and production shortcuts hidden behind an excess of static reaction faces, you ask? Nahhhhh… Shhh shhh, quiet now. It’s just an, um, stylistic choice, like a budget Humanity Has Declined vibe. Compare to that series:

We don’t need words, no no no

Hmmm, Mile’s face from Noukin isn’t quite up to Humanity Has Declined‘s superb quality of deadpan, but it’s still close enough for me, a real keeper — the first isekai I’ve enjoyed since I don’t care to admit — if only because it seems to enjoy mocking the genre as much as I do!

Does the Azur Lane anime have any interest in its own warships?

The battered USS Laffey (DD-724) after combat near Okinawa. Image: NavSource.org

[As I hope the title makes clear, I am writing specifically about the anime adaptation. I do not doubt that the game source material has a much stronger story and detailing on its ships]

In April, 1945 the destroyer USS Laffey sailed north of Okinawa for radar picket duty to assist in the detection of Japanese kamikaze aircraft during the American invasion of the island. And boy did the Laffey find the planes alright — in just 80 minutes, she sustained damage from 22 air attacks, including four bomb hits and five to six kamikaze strikes (sources sometimes disagree), resulting in severe damage to the ship and over 100 casualties to her crew. But when asked if he would give the order to abandon ship, Laffey’s captain, Commander Frederick Becton, supposedly said “I’ll never abandon ship as long as a single gun will fire.” Except nearby crewmen wondered if the Laffey still had anyone left to man the guns…

If you wanted to anthropomorphize warships, I think you could make a strong case to turn the Laffey into a stern, unyielding madman with suicidal determination to match the kamikaze she shot down.

By contrast how does Azur Lane, a new fall 2019 anime premised on warships transforming into cute anime girls to do battle against a mysterious “siren” threat, depict the Laffey? By turning the destroyer into a sleepy slob who likes to drink cola to stay awake. Huh. What?

But why?
Continue reading “Does the Azur Lane anime have any interest in its own warships?”