Random Thoughts for This Week’s Episodes

Higurashi Kira 1

Oh yeah... this one got me "thinking", too. Eh? EH? See what I did there?

We usually don’t do posts like this around here, as we prefer to stick to a singular thesis and use the post to explore it.  Also, we’re elitists, which means that articles that seem “phoned in” are beneath us.  But, Sorrow-kun phoned one in recently, and he’s on hiatus right now, so I think I’ll just phone one in as well.  I’ll do my best not to make this suck like random thoughts posts you see on other blogs.  We do have a reputation to uphold here.

Actually that’s just me posturing.  The truth is I watched several episodes this week and some stuff caught my attention.  Try as hard as I might, I simply could not find a common thread between them to make a singular thesis on.  Also, I couldn’t think of enough stuff to say about any one of them to make one big post, so instead you’re going to get three smaller posts combined together to make one big post.  Don’t like it?  Tough.  Go read whatever Scamp is bitching about this week.

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 18

Fanservice Shot 1: Same dress, different bodies. NOTICE THE TITS ALREADY!

Random Thought #1:  Why is Nako’s family more interesting than Nako?

Hanasaku Iroha has been quite good.  I’d even venture to say that it is amongst the best anime we’ve seen so far in 2011.  It wasn’t always like this.  There was a time when we were seriously questioning whatever the fuck Okada Mari was trying to do with this thing.  Indeed, the questioning started right around the third or fourth episode, when the shift went away from Ohana and her “fish out of water” story and instead focused on some random character exposition episodes.  These episodes were rife with… well they were just bad.  Poor writing, bad execution, and whiplash inducing mood swings brought on by unfunny attempts at humor.  Since then, there has been a bigger focus on characters in a more broad sense, and the show has picked up tremendously.

Episode 18 of Hanasaku Iroha was about Nako, the shy yet surprisingly resourceful member of the Big Three for this show.  If you haven’t seen the episode, go watch it and come back so you’re not spoilered.  Hell, even if you haven’t, I’m not going to spoiler anything because nothing remarkable happens here.  All you need to know is that by the end of the episode, Nako has become fanservice bait and feels better about herself.  No, she doesn’t feel better about herself after becoming fanservice bait, it’s just what happens.  The only thing I learned about her in this episode that I thought was interesting is that she has a pretty tactless way of talking to people, especially Ohana.  By the time she was done, Ohana was giving her a look as if to say “why the hell am I your friend again?”.  Not that I blame her.  Nako may have been accurate in her assessments, but Jesus Christ, save that shit for when you’re drunk and have an excuse to be an ass.

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 18 shot 2

Scuttle (The Little Mermaid): "Neeeeeeew seashells? No new seahells...?" NOTICE THE TITS DAMMIT!

Anyway, aside from Nako’s mouth (and her ample “talents”), the other interesting thing was her family situation.  It took a while to hit me, but I came to the realization that there is a huge age gap here between her and her next closest sibling.  Nako is 16 years old.  Next in line is her little brother, who looks (bear with me; anime) around 9 or so.  That’s a 7 year difference between her parents having one kid and then having another.  Then look at the other siblings, one of which is probably around 5 and the other a newborn, and I just have to wonder what the fuck pair of nimrods did this family planning.

Enter said “nimrods”, who we find are deeply involved in child psychology.  From what I could gather by their conversation, dad is a teacher at a university, probably a psych professor, and mom is also involved with the school somehow seeing as how she does absolutely nothing domestic around the house.  Indeed, Nako does the chores and child rearing.  This isn’t unusual by itself, as older siblings often have to care for the younger ones, but it does seem just a touch irresponsible and dysfunctional.  Or, more apt, it oozes irony.  They both praise their own good fortunes for having a daughter who is doing their parental duties, only to be scolded by the daughter for being disingenuous.

And to think, we were giving Satsuki shit for the way she raised Ohana.  Nako’s parents should be the ones studied by psychologists.

Idolm@ster Episode 4 1

Captain Subtle here...

Random Thought #2:  Why didn’t they “go there” on Idolm@ster?

I was ready to blow this show off as another moe-fest not worth the money spent to animate it, but, once again, initial prejudice is often inappropriate.  The Idolm@ster hasn’t been a great show, but it hasn’t been boring or stupid.  I actually like the characters so far, and I think that there is something to be said for the way the struggles of this production group have been depicted.  No, it isn’t realistic and some stuff kind of flies by with a hand wave, but the execution, animation, and directing have been top notch.  Really, this show is just a “plot” away from being a good show.  It still could get one, but in the meanwhile it has been episodic and is running the exposition maze common with shows that have large casts.

Episode 4 was mostly a character focus upon Chihaya and how she really only wants to sing.  I don’t know what this episode really did for her, so we’ll ignore that and move on to the random thought.  The show that they’re working on is some niche audience low budget production that needed some cute girls for a Iron Chef like cook-off.  Since Production 765 has been clawing it’s way into recognition, they can’t be choosy when it comes to opportunities.  This, of course, is where I started thinking.

Producer-san has gotten the crew a couple of gigs so far.  Nothing mind blowing, but at least it’s work.  So what kind of clout does he have to effect the situation at hand?  I bring this up because it becomes readily apparent that the show’s director had ulterior motives for having the cute idols on his television show.  Numerous times in the episode, we see a cameraman deliberately trying to take advantage of one situation or another for some cheap fanservice shots.  Now, we the viewer don’t get to see any of these, but you get the idea of what he’s up to.  The reactions of the girls seems to indicate that they know what’s going on, too, and don’t particularly like it.

Idolm@ster Episode 4 2

Do it for "art"!

So, you’re Producer-san, what do you do?  Since this is only the second job you’ve gotten, do you step in to protect the integrity and purity of your idols and pull them off the set or do you do nothing and just let it happen, knowing that any exposure (hurr) is better than no exposure.

Sadly, the episode never decides to explore this narrative.  The girls just end up blowing it off (while defending their panties) and Producer-san never says a damned word.  It sort of makes me think that, maybe in not exploring the narrative, they’re telling us exactly what Producer-san would have done.  Maybe, off camera, he noticed it and held back, thinking that pulling the girls off would be disastrous.  Maybe he never noticed it, making him a clueless git.  Either way, I’m disappointed.  Would have made the episode much more interesting to me.

Baka Test 1

D'awww... it's not pedo because she doesn't exist! TAKE NOTES CONGRESS!

Random Thought #3:  Would the world be a better place if we didn’t have tact?

Baka to Test to Shokanju isn’t a great show.  It’s very formulaic, predictable, cynical, exploitative, and stupid.  However, I appear to be suffering from a bout of Stockholm Syndrome because right now I can’t see myself living without the show again.  The familiarity of it is comforting, even if I know it is bad for my health.  I feel like, any minute now, this show is going to kill me, but I just can’t feel negative thoughts towards it.  Other than the fact that it’s formulaic, predictable, cynical, exploitative, and stupid, that is.

Still, it made me think, which is rare for an imbecilic yarn about… whatever the hell Baka-Test is supposed to be about.  In episode 4b, the Summoned Beings are given the ability to speak, something they’ve never been able to do before, as an experiment.  Through this experiment, we learn that the Summoned Beings are tied more directly to their owners than we thought.  They act as the id, that part of our brain that desires things and doesn’t care about the details, and because of this, they’re brutally honest.

Baka Test 2

Thanks to Yuji's Summoned Being, yaoi fags everywhere know he's not gay. Ha ha on you losers!

The humor is supposed to be in that they constantly contradict what their owners are trying to deny or deflect, usually leading to Akihisa being slaughtered for no reason.  But, they also reveal the deep, dark, dirty secrets of their owners, since they have no reason to keep them secret, and they even act upon those same thoughts.  The climax of the humor is the revelation that Himeji is… well she’s just a naughty naughty girl.

But I got to thinking about the idea of tactless honesty that the Summoned Beings represented.  What would our world be like if we all just dropped our pretenses, morals and ethics, and our social barriers and just acted upon and said whatever our id’s desired?  If Baka-Test is to be believed, it would be a horrible horrible thing.  Still, I have to wonder, would we all be happier living without these mental blocks?

Just based on my own personal experiences with tactlessness, I have to say “probably not”.  I call you fuckers “fuckers” all the time and does it get me anywhere?  Nooooo!  Y’all are hyper sensitive bitches who don’t like someone calling you a naughty word.  So, I would imagine my id running amok would lead to my death sometime within the fourth hour of it’s release.  Still, it might be entertaining.

As always, you can reach me via twitter or e-mail.  Share your thoughts on my thoughts below.  Or don’t.

4 Responses to “Random Thoughts for This Week’s Episodes”

  1. Human standards of what is ‘moral’ and ‘ethics’ is decaying. all the time. Today we act and speak a lot more freely than, say, 50 years ago. If you were gay back then you’d most likely still be in the closet. So yes, like it or not, these mental blocks are disappearing as time goes on.

    Will we all be happier though? I’m inclined to say ‘probably not’ as well. Too bad there isn’t anything you can do about it.

  2. Scamp’s bitching is quality.

  3. ImperialX, your comment that “standards of what is ‘moral’ and ‘ethics’ is decaying” implies an absolute morality. Say rather that our standards are constantly changing. Decaying implies the loss of something, but we still have moral and ethical standards; new ideas replace the old.

    I think we’d find that all societies have social ‘blocks’ and rules about what is ok to express aloud and publically vs. what will get you into trouble. The rules are just different depending on context.

  4. Is it wrong that my first thoughts were “What is Rena doing with a used condom?”

Leave a Reply

Gravatar enabled.