Animu Thinks and Thoughts

Hyouka

Ah, ice cream. Technically the English translation is much closer to “frozen dessert” or even something like “popsicle,” but those are semantics that usually are good at Ruining A Damn Good Show.

Now, I gave this show a 6.5 out of 10. Do not let the rating fool you; almost everything about this show is done masterfully. The art is fucking incredible, the protagonist is great, the music is stunning (and the instrumentation is absolutely flawless), and even the supporting characters are both well thought out and interesting.

No, the reason it’s a 6.5 is because Chitanda Eru was so. Goddamn. Annoying.

See, I don’t want to go too deep into why I thought her character was a poorly written mess of Mary Sue tropes because, well, that would take entirely too long and use up too much of my precious energy reserves. But damn, I feel bad for poor Oreki for having to deal with her.
Because she’s a main character, she is huge and integral to how the show works, and therefore also manages to singlehandedly drop the show from a solid 9/10 to a 6.5 in terms of enjoyment. Chitanda Eru powers, everyone!

Aside from Miss I’m-Curious-And-Fuck-Your-Personal-Space, everything else is so high on the enjoyment scale that I actually kept watching the show even though I wanted to strangle a two dimensional character. Houtarou Oreki’s character design and art is some of the best I’ve seen for any character; in fact, the art is why I started watching this in the first place. The details are amazing, the facial expressions are out of this world, and Oreki exemplifies the quality of the animation.

Another thing I really appreciated about the show is that everyone clearly has some human flaws (besides Miss So-Moe-That-My-Flaws-Aren’t-Actually-Flaws) and clearly shows development. Houtarou is brilliant, but so lazy that he cannot bring himself to do anything without outside motivation. Satoshi is cheerful and a hard worker, but is plagued by the fact that he will always be second best to someone else, no matter how much effort he puts into it, since he has no outstanding talents. Ibara is tough and resilient, but breaks down easily when things that mean a lot to her go wrong (A Corpse By Evening, Satoshi’s feelings…). The cast easily carries the show.

Hyouka is a show without an obvious storyline. It doesn’t follow one plot, and it doesn’t have one huge insurmountable obstacle. Rather, it’s like interconnected vignettes. One arc in this show can take one episode, or it can take six. It takes whatever time is needed for the story to be told properly, but doesn’t stretch it out unnecessarily. And also–I like the ending. I like the vagueness and that it doesn’t devolve into romance. Sue me.

So here’s the thing about this show. If Chitanda Eru doesn’t drive you absolutely shit bonkers insane, then there is very little I can really criticize about this show (not that I’m that much of a critic anyways). I’ve heard complaints that it’s slow and such, but that’s in the description–Slice of Life, so it says. The way that the mysteries are presented is so engaging, you can participate in the mystery solving as the characters do. Immersion!

Do yourself a favor. Watch the show. It’s brilliant. Just try not to let Miss Unholy-Child-Of-Modern-Anime-Waifu-Tropes ruin it for you.

 

(Ah, also–has anyone else noticed how Houtarou and Satoshi are drawn like aged-down, anime expy’s of Sherlock and John from BBC’s Sherlock?)

Image result for oreki houtarou vs. Related image

Image result for satoshi fukube vs. Image result for john watson bbc

Even their eye colors are similar!

 

now please excuse me i need to play with my cat so he stops scratching at my door my god he’s so fucking needy

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Animu Thinks and Thoughts

Mirai Nikki

Or, as you all know it, Yandere Prototype 1.0.

Yep. This fucking show. Cause we all really needed an excuse to revisit our daddy issues and obsessive behaviors and murderous tendencies and ahahahahaha what do you mean you’re taking me to the police I haven’t done a single thing wrong HAHAHAHAHA asylum? but that’s for crazy people, not for pure, innocent souls like meeeEEEEE–

This show holds a special place in my heart as the first one I ever watched to completion and the first anime I ever found any sort of enjoyment in. It’s not the first anime I ever saw (I swear to God Bob made me watch so many fucking shitty ass animes that we only ever got through an episode or two of), but it is the first one where I was actually kind of engaged with the characters and plot.

Something about a massive massacre four episodes in just gets to me, y’know?

Honestly, I liked this show. A lot. I love the premise of power battle royale, especially ones that leave the characters floundering in grey morality. I mean, we got Yuno Gasai right here, who is the poster child for Needs A Lot of Therapy. Bitch is crazy. And I love that the entire show is based on the idea that this bitch is, in fact, absolutely shit bonkers out of her mind.

Mirai Nikki is, to me, one of those shows that don’t seem so bad on the surface. Battle royale to become a god and your main weapon is a future-seeing diary? Sounds edgy as fuck; let’s do it. But then you get psychological. Then you see the sheer abuse that’s poured onto these high school kids. You start seeing Yuno teetering on the edge of insanity. You have Four being raped all throughout her childhood, with her guardian being the facilitator of her abuse. See, the thing about Mirai Nikki is that it starts making you think about what effects your actions might have on people. Granted, they probably won’t be as extreme as ENDING THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, but it becomes increasingly clear that all these terrible things that the main characters are doing is an aftershock of what happened to them in their lives. This anime can very easily be written off as edgy and emo unless you take the time to dive a little deeper.

But the characters. Oh boy. There’s not that much left to be said about Yuno–she’s crazy, she’s stalkerish, she’s a homicidal maniac. Moving on. What’s much more interesting is how Yukiteru develops throughout the anime. He starts as a shy, kind of bland boy who takes more interest in observing than actually doing. Fifteen episodes later, he’s murdering people he called his friends ruthlessly and unapologetically. Refreshingly, he’s not a white knight. He makes terrible, horrible mistakes that are never really forgiven, and he learns the hard way that death can’t be turned back.

Impressively enough, every character in this huge cast is unique and memorable. I actually did not have that much trouble telling them apart or remembering why they were important. While they all suffer from a case of Tragic Backstory in some form or other, the anime is good at making you care about all of these tragic backstories–not least because almost everyone’s demise is treated with respect and gravity.
Also. LITERALLY EVERYONE IS CRAZY. Like none of them should be allowed to touch a fucking spoon, let alone run the whole goddamn universe. I’m not sure what Deus Ex Machina was thinking when he decided that these candidates were Good Ideas, but man, he fucked up some.

Favorite Character of the Series goes to Aru Akise, though.

This white-haired genius almost destroyed all the best laid plans with just perception. He doesn’t have magic powers; he’s just a badass normie. This kid is brilliant. He’s manipulative, cunning, and, well, gets his head taken off by Yuno eventually (and literally) because she is a Crazy Jealous Girl. And he’s a little gay, and who doesn’t need a little gay in their lives?
Seriously though, he is by far my favorite character in this show. I really enjoyed seeing him being able to pick apart motives and plans in seconds not by the use of a diary, but by his own intelligence. He’s also honest with both himself and others, and is the first to recognize Yuno for who she only is. I give Akise the title of Best Boy (which, in this cast of Everyone Is Fucking Ax Crazy, might not be saying too much…)

I like dark stuff. I like the supernatural, fantasy, horror, thriller sort of thing, so Mirai Nikki was actually right up my alley. That’s not to say it was without flaws, but it was something I actually watched all the episodes of and it held my interest while I did so. If you haven’t seen this show yet, it’s a good show if you like all of your cuties broken and all of your morals grey. Or if you like interesting character development, paradoxes and time travel, or fighting-to-the-death plot points. If you like a complicated plot with a complicated resolution, and a myriad of conflicting emotions for most of the characters, this is the show for you.

On the other hand, if you just want straight diabetes, Ore Monogatari!! is all yours.

This show gets a good 180 on the rating scale of enjoyment.

Peace,
theweebcorner

Animu Thinks and Thoughts

Hotarubi no Mori e

This movie can basically be summed up as “man, white haired anime boys ruining your life.”

I mean, I really don’t know what we were expecting, though. The entire premise is a relationship where touching the dude kills him. You know it’s going to end badly. They literally don’t belong in the same world.

But even so, the entire time, you’re screaming, “YOU FOOLS! Please don’t do this to us. Please don’t do this to yourselves. BE HAPPY. STOP FALLING IN LOVE. Or break the spell! Break the spell and touch him and live happily ever after and, and–” continue to devolve into crying.

…yeah. Why were we expecting a happy ending again?

Oh, that’s right. Because we want to cheer for Hotaru. We want her relationship with Gin to be more than just happily frolicking under the summer sun. Since this is a story that is solely focused on the relationship between these two characters, all we really see is how much that relationship has affected the other. The movie is like a glimpse into what-could-have-been. In a different dimension, in a different world, they could have been each other’s forever. They could have never met. Instead, and perhaps most tragically, they’re stuck right in the middle. Hotaru will go on for the rest of her life, comparing every boy she meets to Gin, except none of them will match up because none of them are a forest spirit who defined her entire childhood.

The movie isn’t tragic just become some dumb boy died. It feels tragic because the death of Gin marks the end of Hotaru’s childhood. It is the dissolution of her youthful dreams and a harsh reminder that everything must come to an end. On Gin’s side, it is tragic because he never had the chance to experience much of what life had to offer–love, uncertainty, independence. Just as he was beginning to understand the world outside the mountain forest, it all came to an end. His tragedy was the untapped potential of a life not fully lived.

On the whole, though, it is a touching story. It’s meant to make you feel and perhaps not take everything for granted. Hotaru’s choice to move on with her life instead of grieving endlessly for Gin is one of the most painful and heart-wrenching decisions she could have made–and also the most mature one. And personally, I find it interesting when not every story has the fairy tale ending (though I could have forgiven that for this one………).

Be warned if you decide to watch it, though. White haired anime boys will ruin your life.

I give 8.75/10 (145.47 on enjoyment scale). Now excuse me while I sob into a pillow and find some fix-it fanfiction.

 

P.S. : “Reviews”, such as this one, are filed under Animu Thinks and Thoughts because I don’t like doing the traditional anime review where I ramble about story, characters, sound, art, blah. I just want to talk about the things that stood out to me, whether that’s good, bad, or in between.