Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru – 03

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…And, out of nowhere, a new girl shows up during Hero Club’s fight with the 5th Vertex. She wears a red costume and she’s a badass, easily capable of destroying a single Vertex on her own.

Note: she does not appear to have a ‘charged up tattoo/icon’ like the other girls. However, since we have no idea what the tattoo/icon actually does yet, this may or may not mean anything.

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As you would expect, the new girl becomes a transfer student at Hero Club’s school the following day. Miyoshi Karin is her name and she is a true hero! According to her anyway. (She claims to be chosen from a pool of heroes who’ve trained for years, and that she was specifically chosen because she fits the data the ‘advanced party’ (the hero club) has gathered in their initial confrontations)

Karin-chan is a typical pride-heavy hardhead. Generic, really. She thinks she’s professional, without real combat experience and social skills are minuscule. in fact, her arrogance presumes that she take command of the hero club without a moment to spare.

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Personally, I love the idea that whoever is in charge of the Heroes hasn’t bothered to keep the advanced team informed of their reinforcements, let alone their official command structure. So much so that I wonder if an organization actually exists. I mean, if Karin wore a black uniform, I’d have to wonder if she was actually a villain in disguise!

For now, we’ll have to chalk it up to terrible judgement and logistics. The kind we may expect from an organization that leaves the world in the hands (and emotional judgement) of middle schoolers!

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I’m thankful YYwYdA kept this ‘outsider’ schtick to a minimum. Presuming it was resolved as much as it needs to be here, we can move on and deal with more interesting mysteries.

Otherwise, dragging out Karin’s entry wont be interesting. In fact, she isn’t interesting at all, outside her wonderful costume and surprisingly well drawn practice fighting on the beech!

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Oddly, there were no battles this week. I suppose that would be too cliche, to have the group come together over fighting or to see the value of the other girls in it. That would be too much on Karin’s terms. Lets hope the show sticks to regular battles, though. This slice of life girl social interaction bit was fine… but too much of it risks being dull, unimaginative, and been there done that.

I suppose, too little of that and it’s just a magic girl team fights monsters genre bit? I’m undecided now! The balance is going to be tricky!

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Denki-gai no Honya-san – 04

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Denki-Gai no Honya-san is this season’s Sabagebu!. I know! I promised I wouldn’t say that again but I have no better way to describe it!

The visuals are dated! The characters are totally bizarre! It’s shit-your-pants-scare-your family-in-the-middle-of-the-night funny (much of the time)!

How can it not deserve your love??!

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This week starts off with Hiotan and the Director continuing to build there while-no-one-is-looking relationship. You see it’s staff recommendation season and Hiotan is such a mainstream reader of manga, she has nothing interesting to recommend.

Nothing as genre specific (and sales-strong) as anyone else at least. However, the director knows Hiotan’s buttons — he’s even used her likeness to sell BL books in his own recommendation area — and he’s here to help. So she starts recommending BL.

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akak National Standardized Girl Power Exam Final Answer Finals!

Then we get a little bit with Sensei-chan. Poor Sensei-chan has forgotten it is Valentine’s day! Subsequently her Girl Power (bar) is draining as she loses consistently to all other girls in the store.

This segment is the funniest by far, if only for the absurd visuals and timing. Still, it plays into the fears a young woman may have and differently for a young woman who is no longer in the simple ‘high school’ world of being all about one boy. It’s hard for me as a 300-something American man to really connect the dots with this one on a culturally meaningful level but, like you’ll find it, I laughed my ass off regardless!

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Then we end with Fu-Girl. Good old horrifying Fu-girl and her terrifying teeth want to give Sommelier-san a gift because she loves him in a creepy sexual way because she has horrifying teeth and is, at least, five years younger than him, but probably ten years younger than him!

Poor creepy Fu chases Sommelier all the way home, past all sorts of imagery and locations that make no sense but are snot-bubble unexpected. She even climbs through the barbed tree-tunnel from My Neighbor Totoro!

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Eventually Fu reaches Sommelier’s house and she gives him a Manga he’s not read before. To her, she copped out in not giving him chocolate but to him, she’s warmed his heart even more than her cone-shaped-teeth and underage loins already had!

YIKES! Too bad neither character understands the other’s reaction and the relationship isn’t going anywhere. At least, I hope, until she’s a consenting adult and wont get Sommelier thrown in prison…

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Fu’s zombie chocolate. Words are unnecessary…

I’ve decided Fu-girl is a stand in for all nerd girls. She’s physically somewhere between unattractive and attractive, depending on the light and how ‘open’ her mouth is, but she has a lot of heart and a love of fandom any otaku should love if he weren’t obsessed with the creme of the top sexy new resin models!

That’s hyper conjecture on my part, honestly. I’m not sure if she’s meant to criticize the fanbase or not. If she is? Brilliant! If not? Who cares! Her story — the setting and visuals at least — is hella funny!

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Shirobako – 03

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Shirobako spent so much time showing us the dizzy-busy world of making animation in such an frank way (read: never breaking character or the fourth wall) my brain melted. Here, check the key frames! You can see my gray matter dripping out and plopping on the floor!

In all fairness, Shirobako’s overwhelming detail makes for exceptionally educational viewing. Except, according to people I know on FX’s Archer, Cartoon Network’s ATHF and PBS’ Peep, this is not entirely how the animation goes down in the USA. It’s not totally different, mind you, but the structural differences and timelines don’t really match up.

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Unfortunately it’s not very educational for me either; it would be if I hadn’t done some animation in school and/or if I wasn’t married to an animator and been roped into several of her projects.

Blah blah blah enough about me and my spoiled eight years of art school. what happened this episode?

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Lots happened but none of the details matter! Not even the people matter, really. You’d have a very hard time remembering any of their names without constant name-blocks popping up on screen and, even then, they are just cogs in the process of making the show.

And making of Exodus Episode 4 was all this week was about. Things have fallen apart, new people are getting overwhelmed and the old-timers (and a 2.5-hour drive) save the day.

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Is Shirobako bad, then?

No. No, it’s pretty good. At least, it’s very well-constructed, visually appealing, and very coherent in so far as understanding who is doing what and what they are working towards. But…

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Oh my god! I don’t care!

Excluding the occasional dolls coming to life in the protagonist’s sleep-deprived mind, it’s a show about a bland magical girl show being made by a head-splitting number of characters. The subs can be massive and the details provide nothing interesting if you don’t want to learn how anime is made.

And I already know most of that!

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Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken – 04

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I Don’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying stepped up the pace this week, easily forcing me to rewind and re-read my sub twice to make sure I had everything. Strangely, this week was also pretty lite on humor…

Seriously? Did I actually replay a 3-minute slice of life piece that had no real jokes and enjoyed myself? What, have I been taken over by an alien head-eating Parasyte? Help me Tamiya-sensei! You’re my only hope!

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Okay so what actually happened? Husband put his blog on hiatus to look for real work and wife became very happy. The day had finally come when she could tell the neighborhood house wives what her husband actually does for a living.

But he can’t find a job. Or isn’t really trying. Or he’s insane. (he uses a horse head on his resume after all) Why not all three?

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Wife suggests he ask Miki for work. Miki is super still royally upset that Husband’s sister/brother has a penis though…but does give him a data entry job because he knows it will make Wife happy and I guess it’s not much trouble for him.

Also he has a family member already doing other data entry. So he can’t have that much over head…

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Finally it’s agreed that Husband should work from home and can do web design. He has the skills so this should go fine as long as he doesn’t do anything crazy on purpose.

And Wife is happy. Even though she can’t explain what he does to the local house wives (really? web design is too complicated for them to understand as a profession that exists? are these house wives sub-human?) she’s just happy to understand what husband is doing herself.

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Week 4 was nice. Husband seems to care about Wife and want to make her happy. Wife, for her part is happy that he’s trying, even if he’s doing it poorly. All around, DannaNani is a warm and fuzzy show and I enjoyed it for that, even without much attempt at humor.

Still… it’s weird to me that this show is called I Don’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying but the wife, generally, understands what her husband is saying? Hrm…

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 11

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Beni and Hachiko have a go at Gooriki, but it’s too powerful. Before it can land a decisive beam on either girl, Tenchi springs into action with a lightsaber and dispatches the robot. They escape from the warehouse safe and sound.

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Tenchi gets to be a badass again, following up his ability to stop Beni’s blow back at the hallway squabble at school by showing he can take care of something neither Beni nor Hachiko are able to, thus gaining their respect and maybe even admiration after rough introductions. This is a teacher who will put himself on the line protect his students without hesitation.

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I like how Hachiko’s complex is elaborated, in that she only has the will to fight if she’s holding some kind of weapon (preferably wood, it would seem); otherwise she’s a basket case. Beni gives Tenchi a punch to test if he’s really as strong as he looked in the warehouse. What she doesn’t understand is that unlike her and Hachiko, Tenchi doesn’t broadcast his strength, and only uses it when he really needs to.

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Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai – 03

"You don't have to try so hard."
“You don’t have to try so hard.” Nice understated flirting here.

Ah, this episode really tickled my funny bone, alone with my “charm bone”, further solidifying its rightful spot on my Fall watchlist. It’s got comedy, but it’s also got lots of great inter-character chemistry, a carefully-building love polygon, and an overarching mystery…and a lot of heart, to boot.

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Take the several scenes where the whole club is together. Even if they’re not super-crucial to the plot, watching everyone goofing around gives us more exposure to them during downtime, and they’re a ton of fun to watch.

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Keep in mind that Kana joined last week, but it already feels like she was always a part of the gang. When she reacts to the adorable animals Tsugumi sewed on their cushions by teaming up with Ikkei to get Tamamo to tell them what The Fox Says, it’s a very surprising but welcome pop culture reference…at least I think it was!

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Relaaax…she’s just measuring his waist for a costume.

This episode includes two non-members who deal with their status as outsiders in very different ways that fit their characters to a T, even though we’ve seen very little of either of them, they make perfect sense as their stories unfold.

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I guess an ambulance would be overkill in this instance…

Let’s start with Music Princess Misono Senri. The whole first half of the episode we cut to her being alone and miserable. When Tsugumi, Tamamo and Ikkei show her the text referring to her, Senri is confronted by a teacher at the same, scolding her for skipping optional lessons. Then it rains, she doesn’t have an umbrella, and she gets a fever. Tsugumi told her to email her if she needed help, and she does.

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The Library Club mobilizes and Tsugumi takes charge of nursing Senri back to health. Senri is bemused by her “unprovoked kindness” but is too weak to refuse it. By the time she’s in bed on the mend, she’s squeezing Tsugumi tight as if she were her mother. And when Kyoutarou sees that interaction, he catches another glimpse of exactly why he’s a part of “Happy Project.” Sometimes they’re just passing out flyers in costume, and sometimes they’re making a positive impact on the life of someone desperate for love and kindness.

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I love how Tsugumi keeps Kyoutarou appraised of the situation via email; and more to the point, Kyou seems to appreciate the updates. That night, he dreams of being led away by an adult with a suitcase, with someone out of sight saying “don’t go.” Is it a coincidence that he wakes up to the sound of his neighbor and fellow library lurker Kodachi Nagi spamming his doorbell? It is not.

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Something rare happens here: Kyoutarou steals a look…but doesn’t get caught!

Nagi’s tentative, apprehensive observation of Kyou throughout this episode (and past ones); her being disappointed that he doesn’t remember her; the way she casually makes herself at home in his room; his dream…all of it points to Kyou and Nagi having a past that only Nagi seems to remember, but she’ll be damned if she’s going to let Kyou keep forgetting. She just needs to find the right way to refresh his memories — or otherwise just make new ones. That won’t be easy with the bright, shiny Tsugumi around.

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She has it tougher than Senri, who connected with the club simply by receiving an email from the Shepherd saying “a new world is waiting for you after school”, three days before meeting the Library club, who also got a email from the shepherd, saying Senri would “teach them something important.” All very neat and tidy…but to what end? The perceived address of the Shepherd is a long-deserted apartment. Curiouser and curiouser. 

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