Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OK, I just wanted an excuse to type "sexual dimorphism"

I don't think I've mentioned my love of Keita Amemiya here. He's kind of a consummate B-movie filmmaker; as a creature designer he's superb and instantly recognizable, but I find him less consistent as a director (as does probably everyone who suffered through Zeiram 2 or Mechanical Violator Hakaider). Still, I do love seeing his biomechanical beasties go on a rampage, so I decided to check out his TV series Garo. And you know, the first eight episodes are actually pretty good. The show cuts out all the "people talking in Godzilla movies" BS, probably because it's only a half hour long-- they have no choice but to leave out anything boring. The feckless freeter artist leading lady gets exactly enough screen time to convey her character without having the "funny" comic relief cut into the rubber suit time. I'd say this is a good show for people who really like the idea of tokusatsu but tend to find the actual shows a bit disappointing; it's a good popcorn show that's been improving as it goes. The monsters do get to kill people, and the episodes aren't as formulaic as you'd expect. Plus, random mute kung-fu butler. And if you've spent any time playing White Wolf games, the hero's habitual katana-and-trenchcoat getup is endlessly amusing.

Speaking of endless, I finished Endless Eight, and hence am mostly done with Haruhi 2. While I still appreciate the sheer cheekiness, and their insane dedication to the joke, spending a full eight episodes on it was definitely overkill. There's better things we could have been doing with our time together, KyoAni.

I also find myself questioning the wisdom of having the title character filtered through a narrator who seems to hate her. I seem to recall Kyon being a lot more drawn to Haruhi's obnoxious verve in the first season, and by extension so were we. She's also starting to seem kind of dumb to not even suspect the constant preternatural hijinks happening right under her nose. Maybe this just isn't a concept that can be drawn out too far, or maybe it's that this season is totally lacking in flashy weirdness to keep me from examining it too closely. And I continue to not love everyone constantly going off-model like the staff wishes they were just drawing more K-On. Actually, I think I just put my finger on why that bugs me so much-- the fairly mundane character designs helped root the show in the staid reality Haruhi's so sick of, and having everyone pulling cartoony faces just throws that away.

Also checked out the first episode of Sacred Blacksmith. The sexual dimorphism in this show is ridiculous; all the men look like hard-bitten extras from Lodoss Wars (except the titular blacksmith, who'd look more at home in Scrapped Princess), but all the women look like K-On Goes LARPing. And yes, that's pretty much the only thing I have to say about this; it's not outright terrible, or badly animated (I did think the iceblob was kinda neat), but I just can't seem to give a damn. But hey, it didn't fail the basic "do I care enough to even try it" test like most of this season's shows, or make me actively regret it like Book Of Bantorra.

Finally, I read this on Jason Thompson's recommendation. I'm a sucker for art about making art, but there's not quite as much of that as I'd have liked. The most interesting part ended up being how completely objectified the male lead is; I don't think he ever has a single thought or desire that isn't totally centered around the heroine. I'm not used to being on the receiving end of that.


  1. Kyon's evident disdain for Haruhi -- and his equally repellant fawning over Asahina -- were definite grating a lot in the last book I bothered with. It being absolutely terrible did not help. The first novel was great, Disappearance was amazing, and there's a number of fantastic short stories, but it really feels like the sheer popularity of it forced him to write a number of books without an actual idea. His heart clearly isn't in several of them. There's a small audience out there that's actually read his other stuff and claim it is much better because of this.

    I think I may have actually read the first chapter of the Book of Bantorra light novel because they got that manwhore Hirohiko Araki to do a quote for the front, but the first chapter was so fucking terrible I threw it away, and can't actually go confirm the title now.

  2. At first, you'll be like 'Sacred Blacksmith is okay, but not horrible.' Then you'll curiously watch episode 2.

    And then you will see the truth. The show is EMBARASINGLY bad.