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Spring Assumption Post Thing (Tape Delay)

April 23, 2014
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marvelAlright peeps, I just got back from a lengthy business trip to the wretched wastelands of Michigan. I watched a little bit of anime while up there in exile, but I just wasn’t feeling it writing-wise. Now I’m back in south Texas where it’s, like, 60 degrees warmer and I’m feeling a hell of a lot more in the mood to rant and ramble about this shit. So let’s get to it.

This spring season kinda sucks, doesn’t it?

My usual stance on new anime seasons during the pre-season hype is “I’m not feeling much, but I’m sure something’ll surprise me.” Plot and character designs and directorial staff and all that shit doesn’t really amount to much, I find. Some dude who directed something I worship could be making a new show, but I’ve found that doesn’t mean much (Watanabe and Kids on the Slope or Ikuhara and Penguindrum, for example). Some thing might have an awesome-sounding synopsis, but it can be crap (Steins;Gate or Fate Zero or whatever). Conversely, you can have the most generic-sounding scenario and it ends up being kinda awesome (like the recently ended Witch Craft Works).

So yeah, I came into this spring season with the usual ambivalent but kinda hopeful expectations. Maybe something will surprise me. Maybe something that sounded cool will fucking suck. Same old same old.

Let’s start with the thing I was most excited for and, at least thus far, hasn’t really done it for me: Ping Pong.

I’ve yet to not love one of Yuasa’s series. I’m not as much of a fan of Kaiba as I am of his other stuff, but even that’s half of a masterpiece (shame that second half just doesn’t really come together). Ping Pong certainly has the sort of visual flair I dig. It has the same sort of organically fluid movement accompanied by janky, angular, ugly designs that I dig about most of his stuff– all seemingly unfinished and dirty yet far more refined and smooth than the polished, antiseptic visuals we usually get in anime.

But it’s about fucking ping-pong and the dudes who play ping-pong.

Maybe it’ll get a bit more interesting as it goes on, since it’s supposed to delve into the friendship of these dudes and whatnot, but man am I not feeling this show thus far. It’s beautiful looking, but so far it’s all kinda wasted on something I just don’t give a damn about. I plan on writing more about this later, but in order to get at this sort of human condition shit, you need filters that allow said information to be made palatable, and dudes playing ping-pong just ain’t a filter I grok.

I’m afraid Ping Pong’s gonna become Yuasa’s Penguindrum or Kids on the Slope for me, and that’d be a damn shame. At least he has that upcoming episode of Adventure Time.

On the flipside of things, I wasn’t really expecting much of Akuma no Riddle. I don’t even remember seeing it on those anime preview list things all y’all peeps like to make. Updatedude mentioned it in passing when he was going over some stuff he had skimmed, and he said it kinda reminded him of Danganronpa. Kinda. Sorta. Not really, but y’know. That sort of thing. Kids killing kids because that’s what kids do or whatever. I was curious.

This thing could very well turn into shit pretty quick, but I dug the first couple of episodes. It’s a bunch of snarky girls sizing up one another and being all passive aggressive and stuff. It really isn’t all that different from any other show about a bunch of high school girls being high school girls in some idealized school environment for anime fan dudes to ogle and scrutinize with their bizarre character archetype analysis bullshit based around eye wear and breast size and blood types, but the underlying threat of death makes it all the more tense. A comment about a character’s personality quirk isn’t just a cutesy moe thing, it’s a calculated move to see how said character will react. These girls are gauging one another’s power levels while doing the same old crap, and it’s kinda awesome.

And hey, I have a soft spot for these girl assassin things. Real heartwarming shit there. Teach me how to clean uguu.

Then there’s Marvel Disk Wars Avengers Please Buy Our Crappy Toys The Commercial Anime Thing.

What sold me on this thing is the way they portray Spider-Man. It’s been a long fucking time since I’ve seen Spider-Man actually act like SPIDER-MAN. He’s a wisecracking dork who throws off his foes by irritating them. He isn’t a mopey tween crying about how he lost twenty father figures in the span of one movie like that recent reboot. He isn’t whatever it was Raimi did with those movies of his. He isn’t fucking Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker’s body being all “superior.” In the few minutes this toy commercial shows Peter Parker, it nails him. He’s making an ass of himself in order to get the villains to ignore the kids and pay attention to him. He’s tying up dudes with his webbing in creative ways. I totally want this thing to ditch all the other Avengers and the kids and the top Beybladewhatevermonjimon things and be just about this Spider-Man.

And then there’s that Hulk design. It rocks.

And that’s about all I’ve been willing to watch this season. I saw some thing about a girl in a fantasy kingdom going to marry some prince or whatever, but it was pretty forgettable. Captain Earth was kinda lame. Just a bunch of giant robot things being thrown around without any real style or flair or snazzy gimmicks. I guess if that’s your sort of thing it nails some stuff, but it did absolutely nothing for me. And I wanted to see that Black Bullet thing, since it was an anime with the word “bullet” in it, but apparently it’s about little girls who are treated like Pokemon and we’re supposed to feel all sad for them or something?

Whatever, man. I’m gonna watch my toy commercials.

Oh yeah, and JoJo, but do I really need to say anything about JoJo?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2014 11:52 PM

    Yeah, when was the last time we had a “proper” Spider-Man? 20? 30 years ago? This Spidey is pre-angst Spidey. Before One More Day. Before Clones. Before the Angst. This is Spidey before Gwen died for no fucking reason (retcon it how you like, but regardless of which legendary writer or artist made that issue, it was fucking stupid for Gwen to drop dead. It’s as dumb as Superman dropping dead while fighting Doomsday, although to be fair, that one at least probably seemed good on paper, but was simply not well portrayed in the art. Gwen’s death literally had no logical progression. It was 1) Imperil Gwen 2) Save Gwen 3) ??? 4) Profit/Gwen dies).

    I reckon MDW will suck eventually. These kind of kiddy shows almost always eventually do. But for now, it’s better than it’s given credit for.

    • April 24, 2014 3:32 AM

      It’s from like 5 or 6 years ago so my memory’s blurry, but I think the Spectacular Spider-Man show was pretty decent. There were action scenes where they would actually punch each other and stuff, unlike that 90’s Fox show. This being a kids show and Peter being in high school for the entire 26 episode run (as far as I remember), the constant Daredevil-esque luck of adult Spider-Man isn’t really there. It’s lighthearted fun most of the time. This show’s Gwen is kind of different from mainstream Gwen, but she doesn’t die and Spidey gets together with her rather than MJ. But, like I said, I’m not 100% here. There might have been some downer/angsty moments that I’m forgetting. But I definitely recommend checking it out.

      • April 25, 2014 7:32 PM

        Is that the CGI one? Pretty sure I’ve seen that one. Although I think I normally passed it over for that Iron Man Adventures one. Those CGI shows were decent from what I remember, although the graphics felt like a decade behind.

        But even then, it’s not quite the Spidey we’re referring to. Or at least, the Spidey I’m referring to.

        Now, admittedly, in an English medium, constantly telling jokes or mocking the opposition just wouldn’t work. Not for a full season anyways. And not without the writing and delivery to pull it off. But MDW being a Japanese show aimed at little kids, coupled with Spidey’s limited screen time… that works for me.

        • April 26, 2014 5:22 AM

          I remember the CGI one. It was pretty decent I think.

          Spectacular Spider-Man is in traditional animation and aired on the CW before moving to Disney XD. It was pretty popular but the higher ups decided to replace it with the far inferior Ultimate Spider-Man. After that Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which was also good, was replaced by that Avengers show that’s airing now. They’re both made specifically to be more like the Avengers movie I think. It’s a real damn shame because those two were probably the best Marvel TV shows to date.

  2. April 24, 2014 6:06 AM

    Aside from Spectacular, I can’t remember one time a media adaptation of Spiderman worked out. The old stuff hasn’t aged well and the movies are just crap.

    You check out Knights of Sidonia yet? CG is wonky, but it’s got a pretty great depressive atmosphere to its premise you might like, similar to what Aku no Hana did last year. That’s probably my favorite new thing at the moment since Chaika has kind of gotten generic in a way I’m not comfortable with this week and I’m afraid it’ll run out of steam like most Bones/LN shows.

    • April 24, 2014 6:12 AM

      Well, I should say Spectacular *did* work out at first. Then it got cancelled due to Sony politics and I can’t bring myself to watch the second season because I know it ends really cruelly with no resolution. Bleh!

  3. May 15, 2014 12:09 AM

    I’m really digging Wixoss and the ‘volleyball’ anime. The second one might just be because I like volleyball
    though…

    I’d recommend checking out Wixoss though. It got a second series aswell.

    I agree that Captain Earth was kind of meh. I’m still watching it in the small hope it might get more interesting though.

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