I finished Re:Zero. Subaru is still awful

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After many people telling me to continue watching Re:Zero because it “gets better in the second half”, I decided “fuck that” and dropped the series. My main, if not only issue with the anime was that its protagonist, Natsuki Subaru, was too much of a loud-mouth, brain-dead, unbearable loser. Two years later, and not much seems to have changed…except that I ended up finishing the series for reasons even I don’t quite understand. Continue reading

Final Thoughts on Anime Summer 2016

This Art Club Has a Problem!

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This Art Club is by far my favorite show this season. It’s a delightful comedy-romance with a fair range of enjoyable characters. There are a handful of fun side characters that dip into the show occasionally, and then there’s the main cast of loveable weirdos that are incredibly hard to dislike. We’ve got an anxious love-struck girl, a charming Otaku that (much like Keima from The World God Only Knows) has given up on the 3D world, a very listless club president, and an energetic loli, plus a chuunibyo that comes in later. They all have nice archetypes and are given enough personality to stray from being too “cookie-cutter”. Continue reading

Why I Dropped Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-

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13/25 episodes

Before we get to the obvious reason of why I’m dropping this show, I want to give a little attention to the flaws aside from Re:Zero’s completely unlikeable, loudmouth, brain-dead moron of a protagonist. The basic idea for this show’s plot is interesting, albeit unoriginal. Just like a video game, Subaru can respawn back to a certain place and time. There’s a lot of potential in this narrative structure, Continue reading

From Bad Anime Comes Good Inspiration

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As a creative writer, I sometimes find that poorly written work is more inspirational than something exceptional. Now, I’m not talking about watching straight garbage in hopes of it being some sort of learning experience. It’s more helpful to watch shows that try something and fail. Maybe the dialogue isn’t great or the plot moves along a little slowly, or perhaps the show just went in a direction that you yourself would’ve rather steered clear from. And so what I like to do is take the things you like and cut out the bullshit. What helps even more is when the show in question is overrated. So many people love this thing even though you can clearly see its flaws, and you think to yourself I could write that a thousand times better. And then you do, because who doesn’t love a good story born from spite and envy? Anyway, here are some anime that I think I could improve with my ultimate creative writing prowess. I’ll also limit myself to only shows airing this season, plus I could always return to this topic with other shows sometime in the future. Continue reading

Shut Up, Subaru – Thoughts on Re:ZERO’s Loudmouth Protagonist

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At the start of the show, I was feeling pretty apathetic toward our main protagonist, Subaru. He was bland, but he wasn’t overbearing or overpowered. There wasn’t much to know about him because he was immediately put into this new world from the beginning of the first episode. I thought this was interesting at the time, seeing as the show probably knew its audience and the shows in its genre that came before it. It expected you to understand the “deal” here. A typical “trapped in an RPG” setup, quickly done so that we can get to the heart of the matter and begin learning what sets this show apart from everything else.

And what sets this show apart seems to be what sets Subaru apart as well. What I’m trying to say is, the situation he is in seems to be his only worthwhile characteristic. His ability to keep respawning is the only thing that makes him unique. Otherwise he’s just a loud idiot, and without a real backstory, the way he acts has no meaning. We don’t get a certain feel for his physical or mental capacities, nor do we understand his moral compass or anything else that could define him as a person. One of his only actual traits is that he’s some sort of otaku, and this side of him comes off as half-baked. He makes these basic and blunt references like talking about NPCs and etcetera, but for what reason is beyond me. He says all of this stuff out loud, but who’s going to get it? No one around him is capable of understanding his references, so why does he insist on saying them? Subaru should just focus more on the predicament he’s in and keep his dumb thoughts in his dumb head.

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But that’s just something he can’t seem to do, and it’s probably the most irritating thing about him. He just goes on and on, and has something to say about every little thing, unable to keep a single thought unsaid. From the moment Subaru wakes up he has to say something, whether it’s showing his excitement for the day to come or just plain acknowledging the ceiling above him is different. Seriously, he that happens. He also strikes poses and declares things. And he just doesn’t stop. The flood of never-ending things Subaru says is tiresome and unneeded, and it hinders the show by drowning any useful or interesting word in this sea of droning, awful dialogue. It’s also his attitude that makes things even worse, as he has this sort of undeserved arrogance and confidence. The way he talks around everyone, especially Emilia, is unreserved and all over the place. It’s this weird, almost disgusting, happy-go-lucky nature that he portrays around her that really makes him look like a complete and utter fool. Subaru feels fake, like he’s trying to put on a show, when really if he just toned it down a bit he might be a much more real and entertaining character.

That, or he’s just stupid. Seriously, is this guy dumber than a bag of rocks or what? It takes Subaru forever to get out of a loop and doesn’t seem to learn as much as he could about his prior attempts. It seems to me what takes an average person three tries would probably take Subaru six. And why doesn’t he retread things he knows would work? Like when it comes to the “three stooges”, he managed to kick their asses single-handedly, but then he couldn’t figure out how to do it again? It’s like he doesn’t learn from his mistakes OR his victories.

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I could go on and on about why Subaru is an idiot, but that’s not really the problem. I mean, it’s part of the problem, but I can usually handle a protagonist that’s stupid in some respect *cough* *cough* *Naruto* *cough*. What I really want to ask is this: What makes Subaru interesting? Right now I feel like he’s just the weakest part of an otherwise pretty interesting show, and what’s worse is that he’s actually holding it back because the plot relies on him to push it forward. I hope Subaru starts to wise the fuck up because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

But what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show and on Subaru. Do you hate him just as much as I do? Or do you love him and think I’m a monster? Or maybe a combination of both? I hope to see you in the comments below, and also next week for yet another feature. Thanks for reading!

First Impressions of Spring Anime 2016

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Ah, nothing like a spring anime season after a cold, harsh winter anime season to warm one’s frigid heart. Can’t say I loved anything from last season, but I’m feeling a lot better now. In fact, I haven’t liked a line up this much since last spring. I wonder why that is…anyway, here are my impressions of a bunch of shows, all conveniently airing on Crunchyroll right now.

Kiznaiver

Let’s start off with the big one. I love everything about Kiznaiver. I love the characters, the plot, the art style, the humor, the characters, etc. Oops, I said “characters” twice. I guess that’s just because I find them so utterly enjoyable. Even though some are reminiscent of archetypes I usually dislike, they remove themselves enough from the standard and cut all the crap, leaving nothing but the good. Hajime Tenga is Kamina from Gurren Lagann, except I don’t hate him. Tenga doesn’t run his mouth quite as often, doesn’t force himself to be the leader, doesn’t do incredibly stupid things out of some misplaced sense of pride and determination. Sure, he’ll bust in to smack some bullies around, but he doesn’t hop into a fight he knows he can’t win. Hajime knows he’s not invincible, and most importantly, he has fear which makes him much more down to earth and relatable. The others are great too, and I feel like I should save that for another post. But aside from characters, I love the experimental plot Kiznaiver has, by which I mean literally throwing a group into an experiment. I love these kinds of plots because it allows you to throw whatever crazy shit you want at the characters and see what happens. And it adds an extra layer of mystery. Why are they being tested like this? Hopefully the payoff is as good as the setup, because Kiznaiver absolutely nailed it. Plus the art style is bloody gorgeous. Oh, and the OP and ED are 6/5 okay hand emojis.

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Joker Game

Every episodes seems like a slow burn to me. The set up leaves a lot to be desired as I often find myself fairly uninterested. But over time, usually to around the halfway point, I finally find myself entertained and I’m suddenly engaged in the espionage the show totes itself on. The show has a way of turning itself around near the end, but it doesn’t leave me wanting for more, so much as it has me satisfied with what I received. The characters however, are less than satisfying, due to the fact that I don’t know who any of them are. They all look incredibly similar (business suit, black short hair, sometimes glasses?) and besides the main character, they are all spies that relinquish as little information about themselves as possible. It’s very had to distinguish them, I certainly don’t remember any of their names, or faces, or any sort of defining characteristics whatsoever. The stories are interesting though, so it has that going for it. Joker Game is also set in WWII, which is…fun, I guess? I mean, WWII wasn’t fun, but it might be an interesting place to tell a story. Lastly, the OP and ED are not very memorable at all, to the degree that I can’t recall the tune in my head. I remember the OP had some cool visuals though, so there’s that.

Re:Zero –Starting Life in Another World-

I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again. Re:Zero –Starting Life in Another World had generic fantasy RPG crap written all over it. So it came as quite the surprise when I found myself actually liking it. Sure, it’s not brimming with personality to the level of Kiznaiver, but it feels like it has something that’s strictly its own. And I’m not talking about the aspect of restarting. That’s already been done by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. What makes Re:Zero its unique is typically what makes any story unique: the characters. Subaru is, for some reason, likable. Sure, right now he feels a tad thinly written, but he lacks the things that could make him a totally annoying dominator protagonist. Instead, he has no powers, isn’t incredibly smart, and gets beaten a lot. And when I say he isn’t incredibly smart, I mean he’s actually a little dumb, by which I mean he doesn’t get a grip on what’s happening as quickly as I would’ve liked. It’s not a problem though, it’s actually quite believable and in no way a turn off to his character. He actually reminds me of Juugo from Nanana’s Buried Treasure, who was also a good protagonist despite the lack of any powerful abilities. The more subtle action sequences in the show are quite enjoyable, but when Super Knight shows up, things get a little boring as he stomps everything in his way without even a sweat. I hope that doesn’t keep happening, as there’s rarely anything interesting about a flawless character. Also, the Ending theme is fantastic and I can’t stop listening to it.

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Mayoiga

Campy horror at its finest…okay, maybe not its finest, but I’m still having a good time. I do find it odd how a lot of it takes place in the daylight, as monsters usually thrives in the darkest of nights. But we don’t really know if there’s a monster yet. The group suspects it’s a bear, but a lot of creepy things keep going down and everyone’s on edge, so who knows what’s really going on? Perhaps the paranoia will reveal that they themselves were the monsters all along. Or whatever. Quite frankly, this entire motley crue seems SUPER killable from the very beginning, but perhaps that’s what the show wants us to believe. The foreshadowing in the first episode was almost blunt to be true. A bunch of people who are basically dead to society going off to hidden village that the outside world can’t seem to reach without a guide. Other than the lack of Wi-Fi, what could possibly go wrong? As for the characters, there’s only one in particular that I absolutely hate. Never in my life have I ever wanted a protagonist to die so much, but god, Mitsumune sucks so much, it’s borderline offensive. Hyperbole aside, he is such a little weeny that no character should find themselves liking, and yet of course he’s going to get at least two if not more girls blushing at just the mention of him. He’s young and dumb and weird around girls, and has no redeeming qualities outside of being the token nice guy that I’ve grown to despise over the years. Again, hyperbole aside, I hate him. But I love the Opening theme. The animation has its moments, but what really drives it home is the sick guitar. Gotta love it.

Tanaka-Kun is Always Listless

Gotta love it when shows use uncommon words like “Listless” or “Myriad” in their titles. Also gotta love it when a show is like Kawai Complex but sleepier. I like this show quite a bit, and what really makes the show great isn’t the main character. It’s the supporting cast. Tanaka-kun really only serves as the center of the show, around which the colorful and cute cast can shine around. Miyano is adorable, admirable, energetic and adorable. She’s everything I’d want my apprentice to be. But she’s not JUST cute. I don’t really like cute for the sake of cute, and so if Miyano was JUST cute I probably wouldn’t find myself liking her so much. You see, she can actually convey human thought and emotion, and has a motivation that makes sense, that doesn’t just exist to create exceedingly moe moments down the road. I mean, those happen anyway, but at least she has the drive to make it there. She’s more than just kawaii, I swear. And Oota is solid husband material. Away from the characters, the overall humor of the show is one that I enjoy. It’s lofty, some might even say tired (pun of the day), and worth a nice, soft laugh. I like the color palette, the overall style, and OP and ED. The ED is especially cheeky, I like where the two Miyanos run into each other and explode as the song ramps up a bit. Gotta love it.

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Flying Witch

Okay, I clearly got to stop saying “gotta love it” so much. I’m forcing it, and I know that, and I should tone it down before I beat my new catchphrase to death. As for Flying Witch, I would offer the opposite advice. Tone it up a bit, please, because right now I am very bored and sadly you do not have the humor that Tananka-kun has going for it. The characters are dull, the writing is bland, and I’m losing the will to keep watching. If this show is trying to be funny, I’m not laughing. If it’s trying to be cute, I don’t care. I hate being so harsh on a show like this, but there’s just nothing interesting going on. It’s come to the point where I’d actually pray for some fanservice, because then there might be something actually entertaining about this show. Right now Flying Witch is just a show about a witch that can fly. That’s it. We’ll see where this goes, but so far I’m not impressed.

Big Order

A weird show, with a weird plot, weird world, weird powers and weird mouth animations. I don’t understand what the main character’s power even is. He can dominate everything? Shouldn’t he be sitting atop a throne as ruler of the world? I don’t know about this, but the CG is pretty bad and the characters aren’t very likable. Not much else to say, really.

Space Patrol Luluco

I was hoping this wasn’t Inferno Cop again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Inferno Cop, but it’s an old joke that doesn’t need repeating. Thankfully, Space Patrol Luluco isn’t Inferno Cop. It’s kinda like Inferno Cop, but with some actual effort put into the writing. The jokes are funny, the characters are cute, the OP and ED are nice, and the plot seems to actually go somewhere.

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And that’s it folks! Sorry if you were looking forward to a list feature of anime characters that wear classes (as my last week post may have hinted at). Perhaps another time. So what do you think about the anime airing now? Do you love Kiznaiver as much as I do? What do you mean you haven’t watched it? Go watch it, it’s good, I swear. Feel free to leave your comments down below and come back next week for another feature. Thanks for reading!