Rogue Shogunate

Jojo part 3 season 1 quickie

Spoiler alert!

I watched the first season of Jojo (Part 1 and 2) almost a year ago and I can’t say that I loved it.

While part 2 was better than 1 in my opinion, since it felt more like it expressed the goofiness that the show had, I found the show pretty annoying and boring and it didn’t make me want to continue watching. 

But fast forward to two weeks ago and because of certain changes in my life I decided to give the show another chance and watch Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders and I loved it!

There really isn’t a lot to say about the show. I guess I’ll start with the first scene, which is probably the most well-made part of the show. We see Joseph’s daughter at the police who’s son has apparently landed himself in one of the cells. We then see almost a minute long Aaron Sorkin-Esque walk-and-talk which really made me interested in the show. Then we see probably the most legitimately well-directed sequence in the show where we first see stands in the show and it kind of slowly follows Jotaro’s movements and it really impressed me. And while I don’t think the show has any more moments that I was as impressed by, it left an impression on me. This show would actually be creative.

After this, it just kept reminding me of why I wanted to watch Jojo in the first place. I love how weird the stand powers are, how bad the English is (Edit: Sorry, meant to write good), how insane the character designs are. It’s really fun to watch 5 overly buff teenagers and elders kick ass against the baddies. 

At the same time, I think there is more to the show than that, there was actual substance to the show. While some stand powers are stupid as fuck, some were really interesting. That guy who’s stand was light which was shown in reflections or the one with the lovers stand who manipulated Jotaro into stealing jewelry. But I found a certain character particularly interesting, and that being Polnareff. He’s a pretty silly character, a contrast to what you would believe of a french man. But in one of the episodes, the character of Avdol is killed by a stand user and it is partially Polnareff’s fault for going on his own. Now I expected Polnareff to feel bad about this event, especially since he is seen crying right after it happens. But I wasn’t expecting it to have such an impact on him. We see how he really is affected by this, how he blames himself for Avdol’s death. It kind of touched me, which might sound weird for Jojo’s bizarre adventure, but there was something to his character. At the end, when Judgement creates a clay version of Avdol to kill Polnareff, he accepts defeat, feeling like he deserves being killed by him. 

Maybe it could’ve been better if Avdol wasn’t resurrected right afterward, his arc could’ve felt more genuine. I love Avdol, no doubt about that, but I feel like him still being dead could have made Polnareff’s arc more satisfying. But still, I found his development throughout the series to be very surprising and refreshing coming from such a comedic character as he is.

But I also feel like the show has some actual flaws. It’s a show where many of its flaws can become positives since it becomes comedic, but it doesn’t excuse some of the other ones. I found some scenes to be too illogical to be funny like the last episode where they say that they can’t talk in the water and then proceeds to talk for the rest of the episode, Holy is only a plot device for the men to save, and while I can see why some of the dialogue feel a little sexist since it is set in like the 1980’s I’m pretty sure, it still bothered me at times. There was like a line in there about how Holy wasn’t able to control her stand cause she was a woman which was like… ehhhh…

But overall, I really liked this show! For a 24 episode anime, it definitely didn’t feel like it. It has some goofy moments and some genuinely great moments and it all just made me really like the experience. At the same time, maybe it isn’t the show really that makes it fun to watch. Maybe it is just the community. I know a lot of Jojo fans are annoying, saying the same joke over and over and over again. But I feel like if you get into, then it’s fun to just joke around about how Jotaro’s stand yells oraora when fighting. It’s stupid, but it knows that it is stupid and that’s why I give it an 8/10 (Closer to a 7 than a 9)

Carole and Tuesday Quickie

Spoiler alert everyone!

So I recently finished the show Carole and Tuesday and it was pretty good. At the time I hadn’t seen anything by Watanabe, and still haven’t, so I thought I would give it a shot. I had heard so much about Cowboy Bebop so I knew I needed to check out his work sometime.

I found the show surprisingly realistic. Maybe that sounds weird since it is almost a sci-fi show, but I found a lot of realism in many aspects of it. Like how the world doesn’t feel like Star Wars and is based on what we can do today, how the dialogue felt natural (especially liked that they said fuck, very uncommon in anime), how the songs felt like they were actually written by musicians and didn’t sound like idol songs sang by 5-year olds. It is refreshing to see something be set on another planet and that it actually feels like it is. The fact that they sing in English feels especially good cause it shows that Watanabe isn’t obsessed with his own culture and language and just wants to make shows and that it doesn’t always have to be about Japan. Yeah, the voice actors talk in Japanese of course since it is made in Japan, and yeah, the English singers don’t always sound like the Japanese voices, but I still loved that they did that for some reason.

While there were moments where the facial animation got a little weird, I found the visual direction to be one of the better aspects of the show. All of the character designs give off so much character and aren’t just the same girls/boys with different hairstyles and colors. Again, it is refreshing to see character designs that feel unique and original and I loved that. If anything, the show is just generally very refreshing. Other than that, the animation is pretty great and succeeds extremely well in the singing/dancing scenes where a lot of nuance is shown through subtle movements and facial expressions. After seeing this show it is clear why Watanabe is an established director.

I wouldn’t say that any characters are that interesting, though they are very charming so it’s just to see them grow as people and as musicians. if anything, I think Angela could’ve been improved. I really liked how she was handled in the first part, where her relationship with Carole and Tuesday isn’t anything special, where they’re just another competitor. She isn’t written as an antagonist is what I’m saying. But in the second part, she becomes more of a villain, seeing Carole and Tuesday as something she needs to beat. And while she gets some depth that can make her character more interesting, it’s just about her substance abuse which I think Bojack Horseman does a lot better and how she saw her old self in Carole and Tuesday and how that was the reason she hated them which is a pretty cliche motivation. Other than that, pretty good characters gotta say.

But ultimately, the second is the one that kind of ruins the show. While the first half has focused on multiple sides, both Carole and Tuesday and Angela. But in the second half, they add so many more side stories that it starts to feel messy. And while all of these stories could be great, they all feel a little too rushed and disjointed. It feels like Watanabe thought of another theme he wanted to convey and just added it after half of the show has been made. “We want to make a show about the music community, no what about AI, wait a second what about politics and racism, no police violence”. 

Honestly, I would’ve been fine if the whole show wasn’t really centered around Carole and Tuesday but just the whole planet and its musicians. Kind of like a Pulp Fiction story, or like Durarara, where we see a lot of different people whose stories we can connect and in the end, they can all sing together. But now it starts off as a show about Carole and Tuesday, but kind of becomes a mix of that and the idea I had. It doesn’t have anything to focus on, so it feels like everything is just fumbled together. 

In the last episode, Carole and Tuesday make a concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first immigration to mars, where they ask every single musician on mars to sing a song with them so they can counteract the ever-growing oppression of immigrants. And while it is surely cheesy, somehow it made me fall back in love with the show again. The combination of animation, performances, and writing made the moment just really enjoyable. It symbolizes that we people should stop fighting each other, that we should be a community, singing about what makes us the same. Maybe it is an overdone message but it seems to be needed.

Oh, and by the way, Pyotr’s dance at the competition was so fucking beautiful oh my god!

7/10, closer to an 8 than a 6

Demon Slayer: The Beautiful Cliche

I just want to start this review by saying that everything that I say is subjective. You are not forced to agree with me, it is just my thoughts. I have seen comments stating that I sound high mighty which has stuck with me. I never want to seem like someone who thinks their better than someone. I will try to sound less annoyed and objective in my reviews from here on out, and if I ever contradict this then please tell me. The last thing I want to do is make someone feel bad about their opinion on an anime, I just want to contribute to the discussion and I am aware that the line may have gotten a bit blurred.
So yeah, I recently finished Demon Slayer and I thought it was fine.

I’ve had a problem with how anime gets shared recently. A problem with how anime gets popular. A problem with what is prioritized. How the technical side of a show is being prioritized over the writing. Now I don’t want to accuse all popular anime to be bad, my favorite movie of all time is one of the most successful anime of all time. Why would the popularity of a show or movie dictate how well-made it will be. There are tons of great movies that are popular, and there are tons of terrible movies that are popular.
But I’ve had this feeling for a long time, that if an anime gets trendy then it’ll always be because of a cute girl doing something cute, a detailed fight scene or maybe a scene where someone cries. Whether that is correct or not, that is what I’ve felt for the last half a year or so. I’m scared that watching for example Attack on Titan season 3 expecting a modern classic, which is what I’ve been told, will just make me disappointed. And that feeling was only exacerbated by Demon Slayer.

The show is undeniably very well visualized. The character designs all feel original and unique (Especially the demons, some of which look fantastic), the directing is better than most anime and the animation is fuckin great. It has some of the best fight scenes that I have seen in anime in years, my favorites being in episode 9 and 19. And while the CGI can at times be distracting, especially when used for certain water effects, it is used extremely well for the most part. I would even say that the show has influenced my artstyle, and that’s from an artist who doesn’t really draw in an “anime style”.
The score is also surprisingly great! many of the soundtracks feel very bombastic yet separates itself from classical music with a lot of Asian instruments and vocals. It has a sound that you don’t usually hear in anime in my opinion. It feels very unique.
I can’t write a review for Demon Slayer without saying that the technical aspects of the show are at times incredible, it would be dishonest. Looking at it by itself it definitely deserves the recognition it has gotten, but I feel like looking at the bigger picture shows a pattern. A pattern of similar prioritization.

Cause while it was technically well-made, the rest of the show didn’t have nearly as much quality. In my opinion, all aspects of filmmaking are worth as much as the other. The visuals are as important as the writing and the direction and the acting. Nothing should prioritize over something else, but it doesn’t feel like the creators of Demon Slayer agree. While the visuals and the score were certainly good, the rest didn’t even compare. It has a lot of issues that I find hard to ignore. Ones I feel like I have to bring up over and over again.

I found the exposition to be really bad, not showing an ounce of subtlety. There’s a point where 13-year old Tanjirou asks what the demons are, a question that is obviously not meant to inform the character but the audience. Another example would be when Shinobu says “I may be the only swordswoman among the Hashiras unable to decapitate demons, but as I’ve created a poison lethal to demons, I’m also rather awesome” which is the most unsubtle way of conveying that piece of information.
I bring this up a lot in my reviews, A LOT. And the reason why I do that is that I love dialogue. I think you can do a lot with dialogue, and when it works you can tell. And it’s the same when it doesn’t. There’s a sense that the characters aren’t real people cause no one talks like this. It feels weird, you are brought out of the show if only for just a second and that can drag down a scene or a whole show very easily.
And whenever the dialogue isn’t used for exposition, it’s always really cheesy lines like “What is this feeling?” or “The bond between Nezuko and me can’t be severed by anyone” that I feel like I’ve heard a thousand times.
And the characters saying these lines are as unnatural. They all feel very one-sided, not really having any downsides or character development. We may learn a little more about them kind of and they definitely get stronger but they don’t become better or worse people cause they are mostly perfect all the way through.
At one point, the demons they fight are more interesting than the main characters and even then they weren’t that compelling.
I found the character writing to be at it’s worst in the main antagonist, Kibutsuji. He really doesn’t have anything going on, he’s just another evil badie who wants to kill the main guy for some reason. And while he doesn’t really get a lot of screen time, I don’t really think that matters. A great writer can make you interested in an antagonist in minutes or even seconds, with examples such as Inglourious Basterd and The Dark Knight. And if you want an anime, I’d say that L’s introduction is pretty great even though he isn’t the normal antagonist per se.
So seeing another “I want to kill everyone so the main guy has someone to fight” feels disappointing. We get maybe half an hour of screen time of him but all it does is push home the fact that all he wants to do is kill everyone.

In the end, the show doesn’t really have a purpose. It doesn’t really have a lot to say that hasn’t been said before, didn’t give me any characters that I found remotely interesting, nor any themes that resonated with me. Yet there was something admirable about it. In many ways it has inspired me to, mainly use more pen pressure sensitivity for my art, but also to find more samurai-Esque shows cause I find the setting very interesting even though I can’t say I loved the way the show used it. Ultimately, I think the show is good. While it has a lot of problems with its writing, the visual direction the show had was very interesting and beautiful at times. I’ll say this. It isn’t mediocre.

6/10

Hensuki: The Biggest Clusterfuck of the Year

So I just finished Hensuki and it was fucking weird! I went into this show knowing that it would be bad and it still disappointed me. Wow. Spoiler alert BTW!

My first impression of the show was from this poster and I was honestly a little excited. Looking back it isn’t great but I saw colored lineart and it seemed really cool. I knew I would hate the writing but maybe it could please my eyes for just a little. But no, the worst aspect of this show is easily the visuals. Oh my god, it is fucking horrible and let me tell you why. It has constant errors, where an eye will be missing, won’t be colored, or tilted weirdly and it just ends up looking like DeviantArt anime fanart. But aside from that it just terribly animated in every way. The thing is that it has some actually well-directed moments (Oh god did I really say that? Oh my god I’m gonna puke!) but the animation just ruins it completely. It feels so stiff and lazy and just ended up making my experience even worse than the writing already made me feel. There’s a scene where some characters are in a bowling alley and literally no people aside from the main characters are there and it just ends up feeling very lifeless. Really using that animation to make things come to life huh?

And it doesn’t end there. The very base for this plot is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my entire life. So this guy finds a love letter for him with some panties (Wow, kinky). But the problem is that he doesn’t know who wrote the letter. Are you fucking kidding with me?! A LOVE LETTER THAT HAS NO NAME ON IT?! This is what the show is about and I am already lost. I am someone who thinks plotholes shouldn’t matter that much when it comes to the overall quality of a story but my god, when you mess up a stories base this hard it’s hard to not talk about it. What the fuck is happening?

So after that most episodes follow the main guy talking to these girls in his club or whatever and they all start off cute but then end up horny. And this is the set up for EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER. My god is the structure repetitive. I actually found the fan service kind of funny. I usually find it annoying but since it was so exaggerated it was pretty funny. But after the fifth time of seeing a cute girl do something weird and perverted, it’s just painfully annoying. Oh my god. And even after everyone has revealed how perverted they are, the structure changes but doesn’t become any better. It’s mostly just “look how funny this girl is because she’s being sexual” and it’s the same joke over and over and over again. New girls just appear and disappear to the point where it’s just hard to focus on what’s happening. 

And what do you know, it ends with incest! Wow, congratulations! You won the “Fuck off” award. In the eleventh episode, the main guy’s sister confesses to him at the same time as telling him that she isn’t his real sister. How, how convenient. See the problem isn’t that his sister confesses to him since it can happen in real life. There’s nothing bad about just making the sister fall in love with her brother. The problem is that they don’t even man up and do it for real. You’re really going to make her a step-sister so they can say that it isn’t weird. Sorry, it is weird either way. The main guy rejects her but in the end, he hints that he’s actually in love with her which just feels weird. They’re not blood-related but it’s still weird. 

So yeah, in the end, it had some (unintentionally) funny moments I guess but it just feels very off 90% of the time. I’ll give it a 3/10, it’s more of a 4/10 than a 2/10 but I’ll put it in the middle.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season and the importance of sex

Spoiler alert! I’ll write about some of the characters and their development which you might not want to read before watching the show

I’ve never been a massive fan of anime high school shows. Aside from a lot of the writing problems I usually have with them, they never really captured that feeling of coming into a new chapter of your life. I recently graduated from my old school and starting my new one definitely felt different. Like I’m thrust into a world that I’m not really comfortable in. And I never really got that feeling from any high school anime. I know most of them aren’t going for that, but it was something that I was looking for and I wasn’t expecting to get that from O Maidens in Your Savage Season. I found the way that the characters were introduced to be lazy, it had unnatural exposition, and visuals that didn’t add to my experience whatsoever. It felt like any other high school anime that I would tell myself that I enjoyed when I really wasn’t. But I don’t think I was ready for what became of it.

Sex is a theme seen in a lot of tv shows, movies and stories in general. It’s the most natural thing humans can do so writing stories about it isn’t weird at all. But most of the time, I find that the stories about it come to the same conclusion. That sex isn’t everything. We see stories of people whose life surrounds looks and attraction, how sex turns them into monsters. And while I can’t say that I am very bothered by that, I feel like it never interests me. I already know that sex isn’t everything, so why am I told this over and over again? And going into O Maidens in Your Savage Season I was kind of expecting this exact thing. But in the development of one of the four main characters, I could tell that this wasn’t going to go there.

In the series, a character by the name of Rika Sonezaki has a deep hatred of sex. She thinks the people partaking in it are superficial and that the word is disgusting. That everyone is out of their minds and can only think about pleasuring themselves. But as we see in the series, this changes. Shun Amagi, another student in the same class as Sonezaki, is revealed early to have a crush on her. But she brushes it off as either trying to make fun of her or that he only sees her body. However, as we see, this isn’t the case. Shun goes as far as to write a 50-page essay (not sure if it was that long) about why he loves Sonezaki so much, and that changes here. She is introduced to something new, something unexpected. She is, if even just slightly, moved out of the reality that she’s the only sane person in the world. 

Earlier this year I wrote about My Roommate is a Cat and how much I loved how the main character was written. How wanting to become a better and more social person made the show more refreshing and interesting to watch and I feel similarly with Sonezaki. How she has the realization that boys are human too. We see her struggle through this new world with the help of her partner, and we get to see how that changes how she sees the world and the people living in it. Maybe we shouldn’t see sex as an emotionless act of pleasure, but that it’s a way to show someone how much you love them. Maybe we shouldn’t demonize sex but just see it as a thing. Maybe sex is something. 

And I don’t any character symbolized this more than Sonoe Juujo. She’s a character whom you would typically see as the bully or someone with a sad backstory which made them the superficial self that they became. And while that seemed to be what Sonoe was turning into, I think they did something really interesting with her. As Sonezaki becomes more open to the world of romance, we start to see another side of Sonoe that we don’t see earlier. She genuinely tries to become friends with Sonezaki, we get to see her nostalgic side and how she doesn’t care about sex as much as we might’ve thought. She’s a bait-and-switch to both us as the audience and Sonezaki who slowly starts to respect her, even after their accidental pregnancy. And what I find so interesting about what aside from how surprising it is, is that she symbolizes the world in the eyes of the main characters. How she starts off as a pretty one-sided character but become more and more well-rounded and human. 

There are of course other factors that make this show such a good one like Momo coming to terms with her attraction to women, Hongou’s need for validation or Izumi’s fear that his attraction to Sugawara contradicts his love for Kazusa. But in the end, it was really Sonezaki who saved the show for me. When she started to develop more of an acceptance for sex, that’s where the show became more of an interesting one and I can’t ignore that.

Ultimately, O Maidens in Your Savage Season wants to tell you that the world isn’t always the way that you think it is. You’re not cleaner than everyone else, you’re not dirtier than anyone else. You’re not the only one who thinks about it, you’re not the only one with problems. Cause everyone is everyone.

8/10