Posted by psgels on 18 June 2013 with categories: Spring 2013 Kaleidoscope

#1: Yahari Blahblah – 09: The main character’s pessimism: I’m really surprised at how well that has been done in this series. It really has depth: he’s not just wise-cracking his way through the series, nor is he wallowing in self-pity. He is who he is, and he is happy that way, even though his life could be so much more fun if he didn’t think the way he did and he wasn’t so cautious in avoiding disappointments. And even that part gets developed in this episode. This is the first light-novel adaptation with a stupidly long title that I actually liked, but even then this has exceeded my expectations.

#2: Majestic Prince – 09: The plot in this series is nothing special. The characters still show off their clichés. The villains are boring, the setting is standard. Yet why do I like this? Why do I find the characters so enjoyable to watch? Why do I find their quirks funny? What’s going on here?

#3: Hunter X Hunter – 83: What I really like about the Chimera Ant Arc is how well it explores the ants themselves, and how they gradually learn from their mistakes. They’re smart… for ants. That unfortunately is also why I don’t yet consider this to be the best arc of the series so far. At this point the ants have nothing on the Spider Troupe yet and the fights still are boring. Will that change or not?

Wtf of the week:

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z – 09 & 10: What on earth did I just watch? What was that? Why, Japan? Why!?!

Worst episode

Valvrave the Liberator 10: Oh boy. I’d like to talk a bit about the series from the “Code Geass”-school, or to be more accurate: the products of Ichiro Okouchi and Hiroyuki Yoshino, because I’m deeply concerned with what these two are doing. Hiroyuki Yoshino may not be involved in Valvrave, but the general trend is definitely visible. The two of them are prolific writers who get assigned to do the series composition of a lot of high-profile original anime, yet their philosophy favors sensationalism over everything else: they write series with shock value in mind, while at the same time having storylines that don’t even bother hiding that they’re ridiculous.

I say that it comes from the Code Geass-school, but I believe that this started with Mai Hime and Mai Otome. Mai Hime was actually a very good series that actually did a very good job at shock twists, but something happened in the transition to Mai Otome, which started to sacrifice good storytelling and likable characters for said shock twists (really, what happened there just did not make any sense!). Ever since that point, our lovely duo proceeded to write original scripts that just threw in shocks for the sake of having shocks, even though they are either really convenient, or just didn’t make any sense at all (and before this point they didn’t do that: these are the guys who wrote Planetes, Overman King Gainer, the adaptation for Angelic Layer) and indeed Mai Hime. A downside is that they use that to also drag down some really good directors in the process: Tetsurou Araki, Goro Taniguchi, Matsuou Kou, even Shoji Kawamori (in a less noticeable way though, probably thanks to Shoji’s ego). They’re all brilliant directors, but none of that brilliance shined through when they had to work with these guys.

So yeah, the rape. Let’s just say that I disagree with how it was used here. Valvrave is supposed to be this fun over the top and crazy series. With this, you just made it way too serious. I understand that they wanted to show that Valvrave can turn people into monsters. But don’t try to combine that with a student council election. That’s very bad use of irony, not to mention that I find that it looks very much down on rape and rape victims. With this episode this series also really started to take itself seriously. Why? Also, I glimpsed at a few of the reactions people had after this episode. And god. It’s times like these where I want to disassociate myself from the anime fandom…

48 Responses

  1. C says:

    Episode 84 of Hunter is were the ant arc really starts to get going with the introduction the series most popular villain.

  2. Qate says:

    They are smart because they are huma-, no, former humans.

  3. WatcherZero says:

    Interesting, my reaction was its done a Geass too. I really started hating Geass from that shock moment before the end of the first series, interestingly produced a totally different response to the twist of Death Note where I just thought they wasted a good charachter and replaced him with a bland one.

  4. jonas says:

    I don´t think that was meant to be a rape. It´s closer to the soap opera trope, of guy gets way too drunk (or rufied), and has sex with the rival girl.

    • Lirael says:

      Actually even if you think Saki wasn’t raped (debatable, but she thought him and gave up, thinking she deserved it for being cursed and to me that’s not her wanting to have sex, so she was raped) HARUTO was raped. He was completely forced into it by the mecha, so it’s hardly soap opera and more rape.

      I’m scared they’re going to make Saki pregnant.

      • jonas says:

        I agree it´s rape. But what I´m saying is that in soap operas (and porn), this type of rape is not always treated as rape by the characters themselves, but as a weird kind of evil sex (and it usually involves the hero and the love rival), just used to create romantic drama.

        We´ve seen Saki in the future and she seems well-adjusted.

        • Lirael says:

          Ah, I see. Yeah, I can imagine Haruto feeling extreme guilt for what he did (even though it wasn’t really him) but Saki being fine so long as he pays more attention to her. Worse, I have read some potential spoiler that -if true- meant really what happens, dammit.

          That was 200 years later. Enough time to go through child rearing and extensive therapy . Not that she’ll need any, knowing how anime works, ugh

    • Scruffy says:

      It’s this type of shit response that really pisses me off. I have a friend who was date raped and it screwed her up completly. She never reported it and had to work with the asshole afterwards.

      Let’s be clear .. not resisting DOES NOT mean you are giving consent. Liking someone, or even being married to someone DOES NOT mean you have automatically given consent.

      • Scruffy says:

        There is a really good one shot manga that deals with date rape and also the phenomenon of ‘second rape’. IMHO it should be compulsory reading.

        http://mangafox.me/manga/kakene_nashi_no_love_torihiki/v01/c005/1.html

        • Ebisu says:

          That was an interesting read, thanks for the link.
          Though in the case of Valvrave, I also considered Haruto a victim because he was being forced to assault someone against his will. It was a sad act were both were victims. I cannot say too if Saki gave her consent or not, as she was actually being forced to it.

      • jonas says:

        I said that in the context of the show (sex as dramatic tension, without exploring the real damage of the rape). Not in real life.

        Have you ever heard that Robin (from Batman) was raped by a heroine called Tarantula?

        Devin Grayson explains the relationship between Robin and Tarantula like this:

        “She has a crush on him and she loves the idea of being a partner or even sidekick to him. The problem is, she doesn’t know him well enough to realize how shell-shocked he is right now, and she’s sort of misinterpreting his current emotional haze for actual approval of and general compliance with her will.

        She knows he’s still in love with Barbara and that he’s a bad bet for her romantically over the long haul, but she’s determined to keep him around as long as she can. And in that wish, at least, I think we can sympathize with her”.

        Then the interviewer tells her that male rape is a very unusual subject for comics, and she says:

        “For the record, I’ve never used the word “rape,” I just said it was nonconsensual (I know, aren’t writers frustrating? *smiles*), but I think Nightwing is suited to cover any topic rooted in human behavior.

        I think sometimes it’s more rewarding to put them in emotional or social peril of one kind or another, situations which challenge them as people as well as as superheroes”.

        The writer didn´t meant for that scene to be interpreted as rape. In her mind it was just a way to build up a romantic triangle.

        Sorry about your friend.

      • ServantOfPriss says:

        Anime fans these days tend to say shit like that. Don’t bother nor mind them.

  5. Lumiere says:

    Hunter X Hunter: “The fights still are boring”. No review for episode 82; not a single word. Episode 82 had boring fights?? lol

  6. Rararame says:

    Valvrave still has better writing than EVOL. And Araki is not a good director at all.

    • Deadlights says:

      I’m calling you at for that. Aquarion Evol is far, FAR more well-written show than Valvrave

      • Rararame says:

        Storyline: They just seem to forget what happened in earlier episodes. Best example: “Oh, Zessica, you’re alive!”

        The main heroine gets a disproportionate amount of attention and importance that not even Amata, the fucking MC, gets. She’s central to a story she doesn’t contribute absolutely nothing to. By making everything about her and not developing her character in a positive way it drags an unnecessarily stupid and long love triangle that makes every fucking episode psychically painful to watch.

        Side characters gets more development than main ones. Some of the main character (special mention to Zessica) doesn’t even have a backstory to round their character.

        They have no clue of what they’re doing, characters suddenly act to the plot demands regardless of the way they were established in the beginning. Special mention: Pod!Kagura.

        The villain is stupidly overpowered. He can do anything he wants, he has no obstacles. If he was so pissed off he could have killed everyone in a single blow if he wanted to.

        Drama and portrayal of relationship is stupid as fuck. Obviously if the girl you like wets her panties for a hunk you must scream her name a thousand times and crawl on the floor so she’ll notice you! Also, never do anything to earn someone’s trust and affection, everyone will love you regardless of how stupid your actions are, that always works! And if you have green hair you’re fucked.

        The right way to fight destiny is going along with it. By Amata Sora.

        The dog thing is brought up solely for the justification of the villain’s existence, aside from that it it doesn’t serve any purpose. It makes S1 full of plot holes and nonsensical shit, and makes Apollonius AKA Fudo look like a total asshole.

        If your parents are a piece of shit and abandon you, it’s always your fault. Now get up and clean their mess.

    • Lirael says:

      Evol had a sillier premise, but it was more consistent at its tone and better at delivering it too. So far, VVV goes from serious to ludicrous parts with bad pacing.

      However, I think that VVV characters are more ineteresting and (overall) less annoying than Evol ones.

      • Deadlights says:

        Well, I honestly believe that Evol has better characterized and developed characters. I also love how well delivered the character chemistry is in Evol.

        Also, Evol does have a “stupider” plot, but it actually tries (and succeeds) in telling a genuine story and I can actually take it seriously.

        Valvrave on the other hand…

        I admit it, I did enjoy Valvrave at first when it was just being ridiculous, over the top fun, now it’s tacking on pointless shock and drama. *Cough*Lame!!!*cough*

  7. Flawfinder says:

    Yeah, the reactions are pretty bad and neither the supporters nor defenders are helping. Didn’t help that I just couldn’t summon up any emotion for the scene either. Kind of curious on where the show will go from here, but not enough to continue.

    @Deadlights Hell yeah EVOL is better!

    • Deadlights says:

      Yeah! Union buddies!!!

      *UP HIGH!!!*

      Oh and you think Aku no Hana’s the best show of this season!

      *DOWN L-!!!*

      Oh wait.. you hate Yahari… yeah…

      *Walks away while shaking head disappointingly*

      • Flawfinder says:

        I don’t recall saying I hated it. Not caring about something isn’t the same thing as hating it.

        And Andy W Hol and Shrade are far more charismatic characters than anything Valvrave could throw out.

  8. Obvious Dude says:

    Yahari is gonna get keep getting better :P

  9. zerm says:

    @psgels

    The Chimera Ant arc is at it’s slow stage. The plot changes drastically after the exposition ends.

  10. sonicsenryaku says:

    Rape is bad; I think everyone agrees with that, but why do most people get bent out of shape when rape is used in a story-telling medium? It’s reactions like this that make it hard for story-tellers to try to tell a real story dealing with dark matters that happen in our world everyday..it really is a shame. I personally think the right thing to do is wait to see how valvare handles what happened in its most recent episode(whether you think it was rape or not) before shooting the gun that the ending scene was done in bad taste or that it has no place in the show; i mean i think it was obvious that this show would get serious eventually even if it doesnt follow logic.

  11. Ender says:

    psgels. The Ant arc is the best arc of HxH, even better than the spider arc. In the next episode or two its going to start kicking into gear. It really is the best though, the author pretty much turns shounen tropes on their heads.

  12. Tomtom says:

    The chimera ant arc is probably my all-time favourite manga storyline. Towards the end of the story it just reaches balls-to-the-walls tears-to-my-eyes levels of epic.

    While I’m suprised you basically put the recent episodes away as boring, I would say the plot and the fights will definetly get more intense in the future. It’s also perhaps worth spoilering that the ant arc is by far the longest HxH storyline. About as long as all the previous arcs combined.

  13. Tomtom says:

    I also have to agree with Psgels that there are way too many ‘code-geass copy cats’ these days. Gode geass was imo a good, even an excellent, show but its concept (what you call ‘shock factor’) is not so easy to effectively duplicate. While the characters, art and chaos in Code Geass struck just the right chord with me, I hated basically all of its spiritual successors.
    Have not seen MAi-Hime btw. Basically because the art looks like a show where I would expect a beach episode 3 episodes in. If you say it’s good, I may give it a try someday though.

  14. gedata says:

    I can see why psgels would call the recent battles in HxH boring, they we’re waged with some uninteresting grunt ants rather than the ones that are actual characters.

  15. Ender says:

    “And god. It’s times like these where I want to disassociate myself from the anime fandom…”

    I feel this way at least once a day while browsing some anime forum posts and anime blog comments.

  16. Dr. Pest says:

    But Hentai-kun was awesome! No really, I honestly liked the last three Azazel episodes.
    I totally agree with everything you’ve written regarding Yahari and Valvrave though. Especially the latter one; I feel the same way as you and Ender here.

  17. Rihan says:

    Can’t be rape if she wanted it Nomsayin’?

    >I find that it looks very much down on rape and rape victims

    Lmao, U on dat feminist time?

  18. Wicked says:

    It’s likely the only light-novel adaptation with a stupidly long title that you actually like. To bad to get to the meat of the series, that burn through most of the series, it’s likely couple years before there’s ever a 2nd season, if there is a 2nd season at all

  19. TheUltimateReaper says:

    Yeah Love Come probably surprised me with it’s level of quality and dialogue, there is a lot to appreciate.

    HxH is, just, damn good, is all I can say.

    As for Valvrave, people really are getting bent out of shape. Don’t know why anyone ever thought of it as “fun” it was pretty clear to me what kind of series it was after the initial second or third episode, that being said I’ve found it entertaining, and could care less about these “darker” matters. And as for “fandom” response, psgels you should know better.

    • jonas says:

      It seems people just forgot about the girl that got killed by a stray bullet last episode. That´s Tomino level of dark.

      • TheUltimateReaper says:

        Indeed. Seems like poeple got offended and stopped caring about anything else, but you know I think it’s their own fault. “good fun” was never Valvrave IMO. I always thought of it as “entertaining”

  20. Souther says:

    I’d argue Code Geass was actually much better written than Valvrave, for reasons that go way beyond shock value…but then again I remember this is a post by Psgels, whose review of Code Geass was so incredibly simplistic, heavy-handed and inaccurate that I feel he never even watched the show or at least never paid any amount of attention to it. He’ll never admit that series did anything good and that makes me look down on his qualities as a reviewer.

    But let’s go back to Valvrave. Yes, it’s a very cheap plot device to use rape like that. However, I don’t think it insults rape victims at all.

    For one thing, this specific situation isn’t something that can be replicated in real life. Can you turn somebody into a vampire whose mind is controlled by another entity? If so, then please tell me how. But no, that sort of thing is only possible in fiction. So those who compare this to a real case of rape are being foolish.

    For another, it’s still an act of rape and treated as a bad thing. The person being raped understood that it was the result of a curse, but that doesn’t mean she gave consent. Just stopped resisting it.

    Perhaps the most important point though is that you’re missing the key factor here: the only reason the show is introducing darker material isn’t because it wants to be serious. It’s because you need to raise the stakes in order to change everything for the next season. If you don’t, then nothing will happen and the story will go nowhere. What they did here was crass and tasteless but, again, it was foreshadowed. The use of drama doesn’t mean the series wants you to become absolutely serious about it. If anything, the cruel irony of the student council election shows that the whole thing is a bit farcical all the same.

  21. Neetchama says:

    Psgels, you have to do a post for HxH episode 85.

  22. Shelton Rast says:

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    Finally i quit my day job, now i earn a lot of money
    on-line you should try too, just type in google – blackhand roulette system

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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