Gakkatsu 4-7: Mommies, Princes, Sun Fish, and the Appropriate Reaction to Duckface

Surprisingly, Gakkatsu continues to be a fresh 5 minutes of intense classroom debate. As Chiho, class president, leads the homeroom in a gambit of “What to call your mother?”, a goodbye to a dearly loved class member, and to never give up on our dreams. Quite honestly, I wish my homerooms in high school had been like this…

While dynamic and fast-paced, with simple but elegant tranes of thought, I disagree with Chiho’s conclusion that male students cannot resist duckface. I don’t know where the writers got this idea, but they certainly haven’t seen Facebook in a while. Maybe it was supposed to be ironically funny, and I just missed it. The appropriate reaction to a girl “duckfacing” is typically shouting and posting derogatory slurs aimed her lack of intelligence and/or silly appearance.

But other than that, the discussions Chiho leads are gripping, intense, and sometimes heart-warming. Who knew such truths could be boiled down in under 5 minutes? I keep expecting Chiho to tackle peace in the Middle East or a solution to world hunger. But I guess figuring out an appropriate way to address your mother is good too…

Gakkatsu – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

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C³ OVA: Overcome Your Fears, or She’ll Curse You

Remember that show with cute girls that were actually cursed tools? And the male protagonist who could hold his own in a kitchen with a naked girl? That’s right, C³: CursedxCubedxCurious returns with a class trip OVA. Though the trip turns into a mystery after various creepy signs point towards a monster inhabiting the surrounding forest, the visuals and character nostalgia make this a very enjoyable break from the season’s regulars. The story ends with Fear rushing past her fears to save Haruaki from the clutches of…Kuroe and Sovereignty, at the request of Sekiabashi.

As stated, the visuals are just as enamoring as the original series, if not more so. With all the characters in their set roles, it was much easier for the story to just set into motion. Though I don’t think I remember Sovereignty and Shiraho being such a blatant yuri couple. I mean, it was certainly implied back in the original series’ run, but Shiraho stalking Sovereignty and having quite a time inhaling her pillow scents…I always saw her as more composed than that.

Why doesn’t this have a second season yet? I mean, the visuals are borderline perfect, and the story has all kinds of room to move forward. No real conclusion as to how to help cursed tools was ever reached, and then there’s the mysterious bad guys that never got identified at the end of the first season, or even mentioned in the OVA. Despite the sheer force of fanservice from the start of C³, which also permeated almost every scene in the OVA, that could run this show on awkward situations alone. Which reminds me, Haruaki is still my favorite male protagonist. He certainly isn’t shy about being surrounded by cute girls (not like they’re shy around him, either, if you know what I mean).

C³ – BeldenOtaku Photobucket

Gakkatsu: I’ve never seen such…interesting….debate

Back with the first 3 episodes of the Spring 2012 series, Gakkatsu. Gakkatsu centers around a homeroom class that uses its time to debate a particular topic for about 5 minutes (the length of an episode). So far, we’ve been treated to discussion over the bumpy thing on your wrist, why boys can’t use the restroom at school, and extraterrestrial lifeforms. Lead by their class president, Chiho Takachiho, the class participates in extremely random, yet enthusiastic debates.

Due to the 5 minute-format, it’d be hard to episodically blog about Gakkatsu, but I may bring it up every few episodes, and will do a final review at the end of the season. Though the format keeps it from really developing in any meaningful way, it’s still fun to watch this discussions play out, and the end is never as simple as it may seem (Chiho is determined to prove this so). The animation style is such that you’re more wrapped up in the dialogue and thought procession, more so than what’s actually going on. But it’s still a unique style, nonetheless.

I look forward to seeing what Chiho has in store for this homeroom, this center of epochal debate. I’m possibly more interested in seeing more of these solutions they keep coming up with, like a new word for the bump on your wrist, manly toilets for men, and being more understanding to our alien friends.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Kill Me, Baby: Final Review

Back with the 3rd review of finals week, the Winter 2012 comedy series, Kill Me, Baby! Going in, I was very excited. I had read the manga before, and loved it. Unfortunately, KMB turned in a case example that some things that work in manga, don’t work in anime. What was a funny, familiar setup in the manga, became repetitive and predictable in the televised series. The only breath of fresh air seemed to come from anyone other than Sonya or Yasuna…

Kill Me, Baby! centers around the daily school lives of child assassin, Sonya, and superhumanly tough girl, Yasuna.  Also occasionally joining the fun, highschool ninja girl, Agiri, and the jilted Unused Character. With bits ranging from word-play to physical comedy, the characters constantly bounce the joke around, usually only ending when Yasuna falls to Sonya’s wrath. As mentioned, the setup is what really hurt KMB. It can easily be boiled down to 1.) Yasuna gets excited about something (usually something she’s seen on TV) 2.) Yasuna tells Sonya about it 3.) Yasuna proposes activity related to her excitement 4.) Sonya refuses 5.) Yasuna begins anyway.  Sometimes seasonal, sometimes random, Yasuna and Sonya’s exploits were very humorous at first, but eventually stale and predictable. The only respite from the same-old same-old was when Agiri (my favoritest ninja of all time, now) got involved. And Unused Character’s few appearances were just that, few (I would’ve liked to see more, possibly even a more plot-driven approach to this under utilized girl).

In the end, Yasuna had to resort to shock value to get laughs...

Being a comedy, animation and visual quality aren’t very important, but I’ll note the character songs and the ED as being very catchy and appealing.  Final grade for Kill Me, Baby!:…. 8.0
Again, the comedy became repetitive and predictable, but Agiri shed a few lights of comedy gold here and there. Could make for a fun afternoon if I ever feel like re-watching.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Chris is now a confirmed Tsundere

Back with the 10th episode of the Winter 2012 series, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. As the action comes to head, Chris is now fighting alongside Hibiki and Tsubasa against the noise. But not before she does some soul searching and character development as Fine’s (or is really Ryoko’s?) work begins to crumble as she nears her goal. But more importantly, we can now definitively classify Chris-chan as a solid tsundere!!

After a quick raid on her lab, Fine goes on the run, leaving a bloodbath in her absence. Chris soon makes the scene, with the Commander right behind her. It’s there that he challenges Chris’s distrust of adults and their wishful thinking. It’s actually an adult’s responsibility to make those dreams come true, just like her parents tried to do when they helped refugees of a war that left her orphaned.

Back to Tokyo, where the 2nd Division is having trouble contacting Ryoko. Hibiki isn’t worried, but Tsubasa reveals that Ryoko has no recorded combat training, though Hibiki clearly remembers how she used some sort of superpower to protect her at the chemical plant. Whether or not she’s evil is in the air, but Ryoko has some explaining to do.

There isn’t much down time before giant aerial Noise are detected over the city. Tsubasa and Hibiki quickly move into action, as the huge Noise carriers converge on Tokyo Sky Tower. They seem to be at a disadvantage to aero-Noise, until Chris charges onto the scene! But it’s not like she wanted to help them or anything (oh, you tsundere queen, you). After building Ichii-bal’s power to critical capacity, Chris unleashes a barrage on the airborne enemies, blasting them out of the sky.

But the Noise attack on Tokyo Sky Tower was only the beginning, as Hibiki gets a disconnected phone call from Miku at the school under siege. With Chris on their team now, I’m not scared they won’t be able to save the day, but I’m concerned about the connection between Fine and Ryoko. This appears to be the main conflict of the series, Ryoko conspiring from within the 2nd Division.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Kill Me, Baby: Please kill the setup…

Maybe puppets are the key to comedy...

Back with the 9th episode of the Winter 2012 comedy series, Kill Me, Baby! At this point, there’s no need in explaining how anything happens, it’s always “Yasuna gets excited over something, suggests her and Sonya do something in turn, Sonya refuses, Yasuna goads her into doing it…”. Occasionally Agiri gets involved, which is the high point for me.

I'll let them use their played-out setups to lure them into a fasle sense of mundaneness, then I'll surprise them and then they'll laugh their a**es off into submission!!

I’m not saying KMB isn’t funny anymore, I still get a few good laughs and I’m not going to stop watching, but it’s just not as funny as when it was new. And I believe this is because they’ve consistantly used the same (or at least very similar) setup for every joke. Occasionally, when Agiri or the Unused Character get involved, it’s gets really interesting, but those situations are few and far between, in my opinion.

Using this secret ninjutsu, you will unlock the secrets of hilarious comedy!

Can KMB bounce back and leave the series with a hilarious ending? Not if they don’t break the mold and get some new setups. It shouldn’t be hard, you’ve already got a trained assassin, a ninja who hocks cheap goods, and a disgruntled character…what do?
Not a very long post, just had a few thoughts to throw out there. What do you think? Should KMB keep with the setups? Try something new? Or is there no hope, has KMB’s comedy come and gone?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Kill Me, Baby!: Kill me with Puppets, Summer, and Agiri, please

Back with a look at the fifth episode of the Winter 2012 comedy series, Kill Me, Baby! I haven’t been following episodically because it’s redundant to do so with a comedy (It’d just be post after post of repeating in a less comedic way all the jokes used in that week’s episode of Kill Me, Baby!) So I’ll just opt for a general periodic review…and also because I can’t get any new shows where I am, so I’m using what I’ve got.

Continuing with the comedy centered around Yasuna and Sonya, the schoolgirl assassin, Kill Me, Baby! follows the misadventures Yasuna usually starts for them. But, true to her occupation, Sonya has had encounters with a few competing agents, who thought it bright to disguise as Yasuna, much to their misfortune. Although, if KMB doesn’t start utilizing a different method for setting up situations (other than Yasuna being…well, Yasuna), they run a risk of becoming played out and boring.  I hope this doesn’t happen and the comedy continues.

For me, the real star of the show is Agiri. I can’t get enough of this laid-back, saleswoman ninja.  From her “hair staying right even when upside down” technique to her “substitution” jutsu, she never fails to kinda impress. If only she were actually useful in a fight…

As for the “unused character”, she’s been lurking around the school, but has yet to actually meet up with Sonya and Yasuna. I imagine we’ll see more of her in the weeks to come as well. Though, it’s still unknown what she’s plans to do to Sonya and Yasuna for taking away her place in the cast.

So, those are my thoughts on Kill Me, Baby! I get excited when a new one goes up, but, at the same time, I’m worried that it’s not being presented as well as it could be. If the set-ups get a little diversified, I think they’ll be fine. And if the character relations got a little deeper, that would help too. If you’re reading this and you’re one of the many who dropped KMB after the OP, please just try it. Skip the OP if you have to, but please just try it. Unless you don’t like comedy series, in which case…don’t watch. You won’t like it, watch something action-y instead.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku