Bungou Stray Dogs S1 + S2, Baby Steps S2, Trigun, and Paprika

We’re doing another Things I’ve Seen Recently! Woo.



Bungou Stray Dogs Seasons 1 and 2:

Image result for bungou stray dogs season 1

So, since the end of Bungou Stray Dogs came out recently I decided to watch all of Season 1 and 2. First of all, this show is definitely one of the more normie anime I’ve seen. It’s basically an X-Men kind of world but with cooler powers and more of an appeal to younger audiences.

This strongly strikes me as something that 12 y/o me would have really loved. As it is, I definitely feel the effects of plot armor, crappy animation, and edgy characterization.

That said, it was still fun. The animation was kind of crappy, but I’m a total sucker for the over-saturated, near-KyoAni style of art. If I started thinking about the plot much, I kind of realized how flawed and childish it was, but the show was engaging enough that I didn’t think too hard about things.

I personally liked the first season more than the second. The strongest parts of the show, to me, were where Atsushi was going on an episode-long adventure with somebody. It also made it interesting to see how he battled paired up with different characters.

The whole second season’s story arc was more strongly present, and I don’t think the plot was grabbing enough to make me accept it in lieu of the more episodic adventures of the first season.

Oh, and the Agency boy who’s super strong reminded me a lot of Kousaka from Genshiken which made all of his lines way funnier than they should have been.

Baby Steps Season 2:

Image result for baby steps anime

I had originally seen all of Baby Steps Season 1, but I dropped the series part way through Season 2. My mother loves tennis, so since we’ve been watching anime together, we ended up watching through all of Season 1 again and then I got to see all of Season 2.

My biggest concern with Season 2 of Baby Steps I think is that it was coming out so slowly that I had forgotten it by the next time an episode came out. Rewatching it at a more rapid pace was really great, and I’m reminded of how good of a sports anime Baby Steps is.

The downright atrocious animation doesn’t do it any favors, but I don’t think any other sports anime is as realistic in its characterization nor as interesting in its story arcs as Baby Steps is.

Well, maybe Ping Pong, but that’s a whole different story. Anyway, now grabbed by the plot, I found myself really happy to see Natsuo’s confession scene and surprisingly engaged by how awesome Maruo got by the end of the show.

I love all of the emphasis on making tennis into a career the story has. The most inspiring stories, to me, are ones where someone works as hard as they can and are rewarded by becoming a professional in the career they want to pursue the most. That’s effectively what Baby Steps is about, and it does a damn convincing job in engaging me in its narrative.

I’m not expecting a third season given how little critical success Baby Steps has had, so I’ll probably pick up the manga from here on out. Good recommendation, though, Digibro!


Image result for trigun vash the stampede wanted

I loved the first arc of Trigun. Actually, my criticism of it is similar to that of Bungou Stray Dogs. In my opinion, the best episodes of Trigun are the episodic ones, and as a result the second half of the series suffers massively.

How the series goes full edgelord doesn’t help things, either, since I really get impatient with shows that try to be edgy. If it’s legitimately dark like Texhnolyze, that’s a different story. It’s a fine line, and I don’t think Trigun balances it well.

That said, I like the character arc of Vash in the second half. I don’t like the story, but I like the character. Vash confronting his own morality is an interesting subject and feels precisely like what I would imagine an immortal character’s story arc looking like.

The best parts of the show, to me, are by far where Vash is able to succeed in saving the day through his off-the-wall antics. I really was able to buy in to the comedy and I was largely satisfied with the upbeat mood of the show.



Best for last. I loved Paprika. It’s by far the best animated thing I have seen in a while and has a really fucking cool plotline using the familiar dream device we’re already familiar with.

Honestly I feel like I can’t say much about this movie until I watch it again. It’s such a visual experience and delves into some really cool psychology. I’ll talk about it more at another time when I have more finalized feelings about it.

Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Ep 11: Why So Surprised, Everyone?

So in Episode 11 of Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda, as predicted from earlier, Mutsumi-Senpai has now confessed to Serinuma! Oh wow! Shocker!

Wait a moment, why are they surprised though? Nishina already confessed!

Now the obvious answer is because aside from rearranging the order a bit, the anime is just adapting the manga page-for-page, but let’s take this seriously and consider the only thing that could be implied from this in the canon of the show: nobody is taking Nishina seriously.

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 17.26.42.pngWhat happened, huh?

Actually, seriously, what happened, both in the manga and in the anime? Nishina makes it clear from the word “go” that she’s in it for hawt lesbo secks, but ever since here her relationship with Serinuma has seemed strangely platonic. The only place where the audience is even reminded she has romantic feelings for Serinuma is when Igarashi refuses to let her spend the night in the same room as Serinuma. That was several episodes ago, now.

Let me go out on a limb, having read the manga, and predict how they’re going to end the show. At the start of Chapter 22 it’s revealed that everyone confesses to Serinuma, so that was my bet from the start as to how they’d end things. That’s precisely why it was such a big deal that Nishina confessed first— in the manga canon, nobody wants anybody else to be the first and so they all confess their love together, but in the anime Nishina beat even Mutsumi to the punch by about five episodes.

But now, here, nobody should be so taken aback by Mustumi’s confession. He wasn’t the first, even. Maybe it was more offhanded earlier, but to dismiss Nishina’s “I love you” as just a friendly manner means that she might as well remove herself from the harem as a whole. I don’t know about anybody else here, but if I’m romantically attracted to someone, when I say “I love you” to them I don’t mean it in a friendship or familial way. Yet for Nishina, one must relegate her “I love you” in the anime to a mere indication of friendship and nothing more, which immediately eliminates her from the big question of “Who does Serinuma choose?”Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 17.23.04.png

(This isn’t to say friendship can’t develop into romance or that friendship love and romantic love are mutually exclusive, but typically romantic love is the route of “I love you”s over friendship love.)

Of course, there is one alternative. One that might make Nishina the most realistic character in the harem! Join me next time on Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Episode 12 to find out what.

Thievery Corporation’s The Temple of I & I : What to Expect

As of the time of writing this, Thievery Corporation has released two tracks to their upcoming album The Temple of I & I.

They are both definitely not the music from Saudade, but this isn’t to say they’re falling back on a more classic style after the mixed response from the album. “Let The Chalice Blaze” sounds like the musical style we’re used to similar to anything from Culture of Fear or earlier, but “Letter to the Editor” is most definitely not. It’s a strong hip-hop track (and Racquel Jones is killing it) backed by a more traditional Thievery Corporation sound, which judging from the album cover and title is more what we can expect to come.

I & I, for those who don’t know, is a Rastafarian message of talking about equality— “me” and “you” are different words, so they’re innately in some fashion not equal, but saying “I & I” means we are the same. This stands with Thievery Corporation’s political themes (since Radio Retaliation, anyway) of favoring a more democratic and open system, and ‘fighting the government’ and so forth.

Saudade is by far my favorite Thievery Corporation album, I’ll be honest, because it is the most distinctly representing a culture. Prior to Saudade, most of their albums may have felt influenced by certain cultures, but it wasn’t particularly brought to attention in the fashion it was in Saudade. Or, perhaps more accurately, Bossa Nova and a Latin musical style was always prominent, but it was never the focus of a whole album.

Rather than feeling like a mix of styles swirling about in one album (particularly noticeable in Radio Retaliation), Saudade went directly for a specific style, a specific culture, and a specific sound. If Temple of I & I lives up to its directly Rastafarian title, that’s what I’m going to be looking forward to the most.

Also, I liked hearing more singing in Saudade. We’ve had plenty of tracks with some vocal work but emphasizing the Thievery Corporation sound over the lyrics (I’m thinking Heaven’s Going To Burn Your Eyes, Pela Janela, Stargazer), so hearing both a sound radically different from what they traditionally did and a much more prominent vocal track was refreshing. And, to be clear, I don’t dislike that prior style, but something different was welcome.

Now in The Temple of I & I I think we’re going to hear more of those parts that make Saudade great: noticeable evolution from past albums, more emphasis on the culture of their album, prominent vocal tracks. However, it brings it back closer to the instrumentation of Thievery Corporation we were accustomed to.

Anyway, this is just me being excited about their upcoming album and procrastinating on writing essays. Those are my thoughts on the matter. Tell me what y’all think!

Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Ep 6 Changes Everything!

So in the manga for WataMote 2.0, it is chapter 22 when all of the main cast confess their love to Serinuma. In fact, they do it altogether so Senpai’s confession isn’t special. However, in the anime, this part has been skipped over or at least place differently chronologically. The anime’s first five episodes adapted chapters 1-12 of the manga, and in episode six it skips to chapters 23-24.

At the end of chapter 24, and thereby episode 6, Nishina says, “I love you, Senpai” to Serinuma. In the manga this is fine— she just said that two chapters ago anyway. This one is a little more special since it’s from just her, but it really isn’t that big of a deal.


But in the anime, chapter 22 has been skipped, meaning the rest of the cast has not yet confessed to Serinuma. Now, it’s only Nishina who has. This is relevant since the harem members made such a big deal already out of not letting the others beat them to their confession in the manga, but by the anime’s canon Nishina has already beaten them. Now, she doesn’t just have the advantage of first kiss. She has the advantage of first confession!


In the depressing deluge that was the resolution to the Madarame harem in Genshiken, Madarame points out how important it is that even though all these people are around him and seem to like him, Sue was the first and only one to confess. And guess what? She (sadly) won.

Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda is the second chance for Madarame’s harem for me, as I excitedly outlined previously. But for this one, Hato (Nishina) stands a fighting chance.

MadaHatoMadaHato NishiNumaNishiNuma MadaHato MadaHato NishiNumaNishinuma!!!

Video Games Are The Apex Of Art

Broadly speaking, there are three types of learning: visual, audible, and kinesthetic. These categories are generalized so when people say they’re a __ learning that’s an oversimplification of their information consuming progress, but I digress. I encourage you to think of art in these three forms, though, for a moment.

Visual art at its most fundamental level is easily defined— paintings, drawing, etchings, sculptures, et cetera. Kinesthetic is too— basically dance. I’m going to expand by definition of audible art to include most forms of storytelling, though, because a story is a linear recollection of events, real or fictional, which is most innately similar to how we process sound. Furthermore, storytelling is largely based off of words or can at least be described in words, and the first words and story were entirely told audibly. So, by this logic, a book is audible art, even though we use our eyes to read it. The key here is that it is linear— you can have a painting tell a story, but your eyes aren’t typically drawn to different parts of a painting in a certain order.

Image result for cave painting

A defining trait of modern, postmodern, and post-postmodern (whatever you call contemporary) art is the multimedia shift (paintings on sculptures, digitization of photographs, there are endless combinations) and this intersects with the “three types of art” categorization in an interesting way. Prior to the 20th century, graphic novels were generally pretty fringe, the only exception to this I know of being the Bible (if I remember my history class right, they’d do lots of drawings in the margins of Bibles back when they were handwritten). Therefore, the only combination of two different categories that comes to mind is dancing to music, combining kinesthetic and audible forms of art.

Image result for handwritten bible medieval

Graphic novels and movies, however, introduced the combination of visual and audible art for the first time— you had visual occurrences telling a narrative. Yes, still images can tell a narrative too, but not to the same linear extent. The exceptions to this would works like Michelangelo’s paintings and other serial works. But combining words with pictures and pictures with motion was truly when audible/visual combinations began. Other ways of combining these categories sprang into existence too— music videos, hands-on art, the sort. However, it wasn’t until the 60s or so that even the f0undations of a medium combining all three categories existed— games. The modern video game satisfies the audible side by often telling a cohesive narrative and also having music, it satisfies the visual side by having things happen on a screen, and it satisfies the kinesthetic side by being something that the consumer *does* as opposed to sees. With a game, you experience the art rather than view it from an outsider’s perspective. Perhaps I am mistaken, but this is the first time such a combination came into existence while also being effectively one single medium.

Image result for undertale

That’s all I had to say on this, at least for now. #showerthoughts

Yuri!! On Ice Is Poorly Animated?

Everyone around me seems enthralled by the beautiful animation that is Yuri!! On Ice, but to me the animation is the most flawed part of the show. Why? Because there aren’t enough frames. Let’s take a step back:

When anime first began in the 60s it was founded on budget-cutting methods such as reducing the number of frames, having long intros and outros, repeating certain animations, angling figures so their mouths didn’t have to be animated, etc. As anime took off and became a larger industry, high-budget shows diverged from Western cartoons in a big way: rather than re-adding the frames that had been cut out, they instead put an emphasis on having better drawn stills and the general quality of the individual images being animated. This means that there are generally fewer anime out there that have a super fluid frame rate, though to be clear there are some exceptions.

Yuri!! On Ice’s main goal with the ‘beautiful’ scenes in the show is to depict a dance choreography on ice. Yes, it’s true, if you were to take a still of any one of these scenes it’d probably look gorgeous, but the low framerate makes it feel choppy and less interesting. I am a dancer and I love watching people dance, and for me while the feet are definitely not everything to a dance I want to be able to see a clear tracing of how the feet are moving. Yet because of the speediness of the moves and the low number of frames, I can’t clearly see the path traced out. Sure, my brain can infer it, but there is visual appeal in having fluid motions for dance. Generally a big thing dancers try to avoid in most traditional dances is having any jerky, sudden movements, yet it feels like everything in the dances for this show is.

Normally the lower framerate for a high-motion and speed show isn’t problematic. A show like Haikyuu! probably has the same number of frames as Yuri!! On Ice, but since the characters are supposed to be throwing a ball and putting as much speed and power into their movements as they possibly can, it’s totally fine. Furthermore, Yuri!! On Ice skips on the big techniques most animators use to make things seem more fluid. One, motion trails and blurred motion. If you look at how the blades move in Samurai Champloo, when the blades move fast the still animations show the blade becoming wider, basically, than it really is.


Two, shot angling. One of the things I love about Yuri!! On Ice’s directing but also makes the animation frames problem more evident is that it often stays on a single shot for a while, panning that around so we can keep the skater in the middle of the screen. Conversely, look at how Kuroko Basuke will switch shots to make it more fluid in the following gif. We see Kuroko pass from an isometric perspective so it’s easy to track where he’s pointing the ball, and then it immediately cuts to the ball landing in Kagami’s hand. By doing this, they don’t have to worry about animation Kagami’s arm rising up to catch the ball as it’s moving or anything, you just see the impact.


Three, speed. Yuri!! On Ice tends to do everything in real time, which while again, makes things easier to comprehend, is kind of cool, and gives you a better sense of how the choreographed dance fits with the music, it makes it harder to have things look fluid. Take this scene in Haikyuu!!, for example. Arguably everything is slowed down, but definitely Nishinoya receiving is slowed down a lot so you can see very fluidly how his body responds to the impact.


Now, to be clear, this isn’t a problem with all of Yuri!! On Ice. I just think that because it does not utilize these techniques to supplement the lower animation frame rate, there are times that the fluidity could be improved. And keep in mind I’m talking about the animation here, not the art. I’m thinking about how the frames move together rather than how they stand on their own.

Things I’ve Seen Recently

I don’t have a lot to say about any of these shows in particular, but I thought I’d give an update on what I have been watching. I realized that I was being indecisive about picking up new shows and that was causing me to not watch anime as much, so I created a list of 20 shows I need to watch and I roll a D20 to pick one.

The first show I watched was Arakawa Under The Bridge, which is pretty great. It reminds me a lot of Bakemonogatari but it does not do many of the things I disliked about Bakemonogatari (harem / ecchi influences, generally feels too strongly male-oriented, whatever, discussion for another time) while also doing the cool visual stuff that I did like about Bakemonogatari. Also, the kappa is really funny. The distance between Nino and Rec romantically gives good reason why everything is drawn out, and I think it goes pretty extreme with its wacky characters without feeling implausible. It’s hard to believe that a character would act like Nino does in high school and yet still get good grades and whatever, but it is not hard to believe that a character would act like Nino does while living under a bridge. I get the impression from what I have seen of Shaft’s works that they love doing oddball characters. Overall, fun watch, marathoned it in one evening, will watch the second season in the future.

I also watched the Shounen-ai movie Doukyuusei, or Classmates, which was fun but not my favorite thing ever. In terms of shounen-ai it feels average, though I am a fan of the character designs. The conflicts come off as kind of scripted, but they also are generally fun to watch, even if they aren’t the most original. The lemon soda motif is fun though and represents the realistic high school setting, which is something I don’t see very often. My biggest qualm is that the story ended a bit short of where I feel like it should— I haven’t read the manga yet, but I’d have liked it more if I saw them moving to Kyoto together. Also, the seasonal divisions make it really clear what the time progression is and you can probably draw a bit of depth out of they don’t fall in love in spring, etc. Oh, and have I said this show is really beautiful? Overall, more interesting shounen-ai and yaoi stories out there, but in the realm of anime (which yaoi is just beginning to spread into) Doukyuusei has done a pretty good job.

Most recently I watched the first four episodes of Oniisama E… which is basically the epitome of melodramatic bogus. You definitely have to be in the mood to see a shy character become the victim of a whole bunch of bullying and bad things happening in her life. Most of the melodrama is so inane though that I find myself generally disinterested, but I am curious as to how the yuri, drug, incest, and suicide elements which I heard this show contain all play out. As of the moment I plan to watch to episode 13 of the 39 total episodes, and if it hasn’t picked up my interest beyond what it has so far I probably will not finish it. Very much feels like traditional shoujo drama, done worse than a lot of contemporary shows (Ao Haru Ride is the first that springs to mind).

Oh, and as for things currently airing this season, I have dropped All Out! because god damn the dialogue and plot and character interactions are so stiff and I only picked it up in the first place because of man butt, and I am putting Flip Flappers on hold because even though it’s really gorgeous to look at and kind of great sound design, not really feeling in the mood for it. You can guess how I feel about Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda, I like Yuri!! On Ice, new season of Haikyuu is a blast, and that’s about it!