Snorlax is just a 40-Something Dad

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He’s overweight. Just wants to eat a meal, sleep, and be left alone. He’s your dear old, tired dad who just wants a nap.

 

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Muchlax, however, is just some hyper kid who smoked too weed and ate everything in sight.

Recent Anime that I’m Enjoying

Showing up for my annual check in. Lol. Too much life and too lazy to write. I could make excuses, but I have none really.

Carole and Tuesday

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The show is pretty lighthearted and one could accuse it of being corny even…but I loved it. It was sweet, kind, and hopeful, and sometimes that is just what someone needs.

The animation is wonderful and soundtrack is great. Please watch it.

Parents: Really only one questionable song…but it is hilarious.

 

Astra Lost In Space

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A really fun adventure, sci-fi show with many twists.

Nicely animated, well paced, good character development. An all around surprising winner. One of the best of the new season.

Parents: Nothing really objectionable yet.

 

Kaiju Monsters! Oh My!

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 Opinions I read on MAL were quite mixed on this show. People seemed to love it or hate it. I fall in the “love it” camp….or just like it a lot…it was good!

Much of the confusion I read seemed to be centered around comparing it to other mecha shows…the problem with this is…it’s not a mecha show. It’s based off of the tokusatsu genre.

From Tokupedia:
“Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese word that literally means “special effects.” It is primarily used to refer to live-action Japanese film and television dramas that make use of special effects.

The term “tokusatsu” is a contraction of the Japanese phrase “tokushu satsuei” (特殊撮影), meaning “special photography”. In production, the special effects director is given the title of “tokushu gijutsu” (特殊技術), Japanese for “special techniques” or “tokusatsu kantoku” (特撮監督), which is Japanese for “special effects director”, the title usually used by English language productions.

Tokusatsu entertainment is often science fiction, fantasy, or horror, but movies and TV shows in other genres can sometimes be classified as tokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu are kaiju monster movies (the Godzilla and Gamera film series), superhero TV serials (the Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes series), and mecha dramas (Giant Robo). Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres (the Ultraman and Super Sentaiseries).”

Now this obviously wasn’t a live action, but still was, in it’s nature, a tribute to this genre. Sure, there were nods to the mecha genre (Neon Genesis High School), but it was a Tokusatsu at it’s core. It had Kaiju and superheroes to fight them.

I can’t say that I am particularly versed in that genre at all, so I can’t speak to it in depth. I went into the show blind. I am basically looking to be entertained. This can be surface…it can be deep…I am not fussy. I will take a deep story or mindless entertainment. As long as I am entertained, I am happy.

I was pleasantly surprised with SSSS Gridman. I liked the animation, soundtrack, and story. The characters were good, with the supporting characters being more memorable than the main protagonist.

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 There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with Yuta, but I found Sho and Rikka more memorable and interesting….perhaps because they had to make sense of their relationships more than Yuta did.

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 And then there’s Akane…a very good villain. Way too much power in a teenage brain trying to find itself. She was a delight.

I watched the dub of this and it was great. I recommend it highly. I often watch sub, but thoroughly enjoyed this dub.

Beyond the monsters and heroes there is the underpinning of trying to find friendship and a sense of belonging. I really like this aspect of the show. While one can cynically dismiss that as trite or cheesy, I like it and think the world needs more of that. A sense that we can find connection in others when we are lonely and lost ourselves.

Attention Parents: Nothing is too bad….or that memorable as really bad. Fantasy violence is about it. Akane is a bit psycho.

I liked the show. It is on Crunchyroll and the dub is on Funimation.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!

 

Goblins Revisited

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 I don’t have a lot to say beyond my first review. Goblin Slayer is what it is: a fantasy in the D&D style.

What I found funny was later finding out that is exactly what the Manga author had in mind. A manga based off a character for a D&D style role-playing game (if not D&D itself) that just likes killing goblins and nothing else. It actually works as a premise and makes it an enjoyable watch, as long as you don’t expect anything especially deeper than that.

The attention at the beginning of the season with the brutal first episode was actually brilliant marketing. It got people’s attention. While the rest of the series wasn’t quite that bad, there still were several points that were fan service-y or brutal and violent. The first episode served to set the tone, beyond a doubt, of what you needed to know in the show…. Goblins are bad..really bad. The Goblin Slayer, while not a sympathetic hero exactly, is good because he really wants to kill the bad goblins and does an excellent job at it. That first episode serves that purpose well.

The rest of the show was like a D&D campaign. Getting a party together and going on adventures. The supporting cast is nameless mostly, going just by their designation or description. And this is fine…you don’t really need names if you can accept what you are watching is a campaign unfolding.

All in all, I found it enjoyable. It was a fun adventure more than anything with some humanizing moments for the Goblin Slayer mixed in. I have to admit that I am sympathetic not because I am a role player, but because I was when I was a kid. I was playing D&D in the late 1970s when it first emerged and lived in Wisconsin where Gary Gygax lived.

It still is a show parents should use caution with when it comes to younger teens or tweens, because some of the content, but that’s up to you.

Give it a watch if you like adventure shows with monsters getting killed. It’s enjoyable enough of a story and a fun watch with good animation.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!

 

Cosplay for fun and profit

Halloween has come and past. For many people that is an opportunity to dress up as a favorite ghoul, superhero, tv personality, etc.

For those with interests in sci-fi and anime and are convention attendees, it’s another opportunity (among many) to dress up as a favorite character. So, I did.

Work had a Halloween costume contest. Prizes were involved. I asked my boss: “Does this mean I can come to work dressed up as a magical girl?” His response was an emphatic “YES!”

So, of course, I did. I wore my “Man-doka” cosplay that I have worn to conventions this past year.

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 I will tell you…doing receiving in this outfit is no easy task…the heels are a killer after a couple of hours.

A bunch of my co-workers and friends already know about this cosplay I do, but to see it in person was a blast for many of them. Co-workers who I am not friends with on social media, and didn’t know I dressed up like this for cons, were taken aback and quite amused. It made a lot of people happy.

After a week or so, I found out that I did win the contest. That was awesome. Beyond the contest it got me thinking about cosplay and why I do it (to the limited degree I do), and the benefits of cosplay.

When I started going to cons, I was a newbie. I went for a day, then two days, then the whole weekend. Then I looked at cosplay and thought to myself: “why not?” It was another way to connect and immerse myself in an experience. At first, I did a few that were more “normal” for me to do. Older males, etc.
After a time I got to thinking, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one of my favorite shows…Maybe I should cosplay something from that.

The idea amused me…for a couple of reasons. I make a horrible looking magical girl and it would embarrass my boys being the primary ones. I played around with the idea, pitched it to a couple of friends, and finally bit the bullet. My first magical girl cosplay was Mami Tomoe, I called my version “Manny Tomoe” and I spoke in a gravelly faux East coast (USA) accent. It was a lot of fun. After that, I did Madoka Kaname, or “Man-doka” where I walked around talking like a version of The Tick. Loud, confident, and superhero-ish.

Do I feel loud, confident, and superhero-ish? Absolutely not. I have to psych myself up to dress like this. It’s takes me summoning a combination of courage and an attitude of not giving a fuck. And then off I go. I’m happy I do it. If for no other reason than this:

It makes (some) people happy. People smile. Get excited. Want to take a picture. It brightens someones day just a little. A lot of people outside the con-going community might not understand this. For some people, Halloween is the only socially acceptable time to dress up in a costume, and that’s too bad. I think sometimes, as adults, we forget the power of play. Of simple ridiculous fun.

I’m not a good cosplayer. There are many who are absolutely awesome. They make amazing outfits. They are artists. I have a great respect for that. There are people who just want to dress up to represent their favorite shows, video game, movie, character, etc. This is also awesome. It connects and bonds you to others who share your interests. There are people like myself who like a show, and just like making people smile a little. And all of us are out there to forget about life for a little while.

That’s why I like to dress up on days beyond Halloween. That’s why I love the cosplayers, each doing their own unique thing. And that is why I will keep doing it. Beyond work prizes, I made some people smile and brightened their day in a small and silly way.

 

Until Next time: Happy Viewing!

 

A Word About Goblins

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Goblin Slayer

  I decided to write a brief post that will mostly be a “duh” to many anime viewers.

I am three episodes in. I don’t really have a deep opinion on the show…it’s kind of what it is: A lot of Goblin slaying.

I had heard some buzz around it before the season started, but knew nothing about it really. When the first episode came out I asked my 14 year old if he wanted to watch it.

We sat down and gave it a look. My son’s reaction by the end of the episode: “Well, that just happened! Damn…I was not expecting all of that!”

Neither was I. I wasn’t upset or anything. I just was not expecting what went down.

After I got that the content of the show was going to be on the explicit side of the spectrum, I watched some more. Is it a good show? I don’t know. Kind of a standard adventurer, Lord of the Rings-esque, DnD like sort of fantasy. I will see where it goes. I neither love, nor hate the show at this point.

However to my main purpose: parents….this isn’t an innocent show. It’s not SAO. It’s a sometimes brutal and fan-service-y show.

Attention Parents: There is gore, brutal killings, rape, some nudity, and fan service in this show. Keep this in mind when your kids ask about this one.

I will probably keep watching it to see where it goes.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!

 

Everyone Needs a Darling

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Darling in the Franxx

The Jian, also known as “the bird that shares wings,” only possesses one wing. Unless a male and female pair lean on each other and act as one, they’re incapable of flight. They’re imperfect, incomplete creatures.

But, for some reason, their way of life, struck me as profoundly beautiful. It was beautiful, I felt.”- Hiro

Darling in Franxx was a favorite of mine this year, but it didn’t start that way exactly. I had heard about this collaboration between A-1 (now Cloverworks) and Trigger several months before the release and was excited to see what this would yield.

I won’t go into me writing a synopsis of the show, so here’s a link to Wikipedia:

Darling in Franxx

At first, I liked the concept, the art, the basic feel of the show. However, after the first six or so episodes, I was feeling very unsure where the series was going to go. I felt like the store kind of floundered a bit.

Where it turned around for me was after that. When they start to explore the dynamic between the main group of kids the show follows. I know this runs contrary to many other people’s feeling on the show, but that’s where it kicked in for me.

The reason it set in for me I guess, was the themes of belonging and connectedness that underlie the show. From Zero-Two’s attempt to connect to Hiro and the group, the brief marriage, to the group’s sense of self sufficiency and belonging. They were normal needs that young teens were left to negotiate in the absence of real adult guidance.

As the show progresses you find out more about Zero-Two and Hiro’s past and more about the battle that they are fighting with the Klaxosaurs. The pacing steps up and becomes better than the slower muddled pace (for me) than the beginning. Some episodes being handled really well with the sense of excitement and suspense. My younger son and I got really into speculating what was going to happen next.

The ending was a little protracted, but I definitely like it. Especially the final scene.

 

 

Would I recommend this show? Yes. I liked it. The story, while a little oddly paced at times, is enjoyable (and another variation on the Red and Blue Oni story) and has some nice emotional moments.

The animation is good and you can see the influence from both studios at times.

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The cross is very Studio Trigger!

The OP was great. Enough said.

 

Attention Parents: There is some mild violence, mostly of a cartoon nature. There are themes of adolescent sexuality (I mean… the whole Franxx piloting system is sexualized).

Despite some of the criticism out there for the show, I liked it and was a favorite of mine this year if for nothing else, but because I like the romantic notion of everyone having their “darling”.

Adaptations: Yay or Nay?

  Full Metal Alchemist and  Gintama 

(The live action movies)

Recently I have had the pleasure, and displeasure, of seeing a couple of live action adaptations of beloved anime.

Now I am a fan of anime, and animation in general. I like seeing the art and the skill in which the animated story is expressed. That being said, I approached these two adaptations with a bit of caution. I wasn’t really sure they could pull it off.

Full Metal Alchemist

I’m sorry if you liked this adaption, but in my mind they really didn’t pull it off. It was kind of a train wreck. For several reasons.

  • The story was a mess. It was very convoluted. If you were not familiar with the original you would probably be scratching your head at what was happening. This, in many ways, is understandable as they were trying to cram an entire season into a two hour movie. Now what they actually did was use much of the first season and a modified piece of the end. It really didn’t work well.
  • The characters. They had a bunch of them, but because of how they were written and the direction you never really got to care about any of them. FMA Brotherhood is known for some great, heart-wrenching scenes…but it depended on caring about these characters and giving them the time to develop that made the difference that just didn’t happen in this movie.
  • Th direction. It wasn’t good and the director didn’t seem to have watched the original. There are scenes that should be dark, lit for impact and mood, but that was very much missed in this movie. Taking hugely important scenes from the original anime and directing them in such a way that they took on much less significance.

    It’s hard to tell from the movie still here, but it was a bright, sunny day in the live movie and not lit or directed for the emotional impact needed.

  • The music. The opening scene music felt way out of place. I know I’m being picky, but it was the first thing I noticed.
  • Costuming and CGI. Some people have likened Ed’s actor as looking more like an excited cosplayer. That’s a little mean, but the hair does look a bit out of place. Some of the the CGI worked fine, but I think they could have utilized it better How about Ed petting/ comforting Nina-doggo?
  • The casting. I actually was okay with the casting. Ed wasn’t great, but not bad. I thought Lust and Envy were decent and the choice for Maes Hughes was good.
  • Nerdy fan stuff. No Scar, Teacher, Hohenheim, Pride, Wrath, Greed, or Sloth. No explanation of the impotance of the Ishvalen war. No explanation of the humunculi. Winry was not used well in the movie at all. Aaand Lieutenant Ross’s character was introduced by serving tea and sandwiches….so not cool.

Take a look at it, it’s currently available on Netflix. See if you like it…you may? I definitely had issues with the movie and thought it was a poor adaptation.

Gintama

I saw this one in the the theater. I overall liked it. As an adaption I thought they did a good job. This, I actually recommend seeing.

  • The story. It was good. Followed the show pretty well and was a cohesive enough of a story that you wouldn’t feel lost not knowing the source material. It was touted as a retelling of the Benizakura Arc and did a pretty good job.
  • The comedy. This was one of the movie’s weaker points, in my opinion. There were times when the actors were really trying to emulate the anime/ manga comedy faces, etc that kind of fell flat for me. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it felt forced. There were some bits of self aware comedy that were quite funny as the movie poked fun at itself or made reference to other anime.
  • CGI and costuming. I wish they had more budget for this. Some of the Amanto looked kind of hokey and some of the CGI could have been done better. But, time, budget, etc all falls into this…so I kind of just accepted that going in.
  • The casting. I thought the casting was amazing. Everyone were really good choices. I loved the choices for the Shinsengumi!
  • The action. Great fight scenes. Nice visuals. a high point.
  • Dramatic moments. It wouldn’t be Gintama if there wasn’t some dramatic monologue thrown in somewhere among the silliness. The movie did this and did it well I thought.

 

I would recommend seeing this one. Will you like it? Perhaps? I would think so…at least more than Full Metal Alchemist…

Until next time: Happy viewing!!

Bullying, Suicide, and “A Silent Voice”

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A Silent Voice

 I got to see this movie last night in the theater with my two teen boys last night. It was powerful. I highly recommend it not only for it’s beautiful animation, but for it’s story that was often sweet, infuriating, and sad.

The story opens with a teenage boy, Shōya Ishida, on a bridge contemplating suicide. He then goes into the memories that got him to that place.

During elementary school, he bullied a girl (Shōko Nishimiya) who happened to be deaf who was new to his class. Shōko soon became an outcast in her class with the other students following suit, however Shōya was the main bully. Shōko tried hard to befriend Shōya and others despite her treatment, but was rebuffed for her efforts with the bullying intensifying. Things finally come to a head when Shōya rips out Shōko’s hearing aids (not the first time) and causes Shōko’s ear to bleed.

Shōko doesn’t come to school the next day. The principal, upon hearing about the incident from Shōko’s mother, confronts the class and demands to know who was responsible for Shōko’s bullying. The homeroom teacher calls out Shōya for his behavior and the rest of his classmates lets the sole blame rest on Shōya. Shōya protests insisting that it wasn’t just him, but several of his friends and classmates as well. Shōko transfers to another school and, because of his act of sharing the blame, Shōya becomes the subject of the bullying. He is outcast, bullied and shunned by his friends and classmates.

By the time we return to the present we find Shōya as a loner. He is filled with shame and guilt for his behavior in his treatment of  Shōko and anxiety about others due to his own bullying. He is socially isolated and suicidal.

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 In a last act of penance Shōya seeks out Shōko, these many years later, to apologize to her before finally committing suicide. In the years since he has seen her, he had learned sign language so he could communicate this to her. When he finally meets her instead of apologizing to make it an end for himself,  he (on impulse) asks her to be his friend.

And so the new story begins. I won’t go into it all. There is hope. New friendships. Sadness. Old wounds. Sadness. Guilt. And pain.

It is a very powerful story. It reminds us of something that I feel sometimes that gets forgotten: what we say and do matter. We impact one another. So often it becomes easy to depersonalize another when online because we don’t see a real person in front of us feeling real pain. On top of this, we can carry this desensitization out in to the real world.

Attention Parents: This is a movie with challenging themes. Watch it anyways. Watch it with your kids. Have conversations with them around the subjects of suicide and bullying.

Please watch this movie when you get the chance. Besides the story, it really is beautifully animated.

 

 

Until next time: Happy viewing.

And if you are going through a hard time…please don’t do anything to hurt yourself. It will get better even if you don’t believe it right now…trust me…People love you. Okay?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

1-800-273-8255

 

For Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Now what is a “Gal” exactly???

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 Hajimete no Gal

(My First Girlfriend Is a Gal)

 

I can’t really remembered what prompted me to watch this show. I am, in general, not a big consumer of the “ecchi” humor styles of shows (despite the Monotogari series being on of my favorites), but I watched nonetheless. Usually a friend of mine watches these more often and I think I figured: “What the hell, I’ll see if I like it and tell him if I think it’s any good. And I came away liking it more than I thought I would, which surprised me.

“Gal” (Gyaru)seems to be a Japanese pop culture term that reflecting a certain fashion aesthetic. Dark tans, bleached or dyed hair, lots of make up, fancy nails, and non-traditional fashion. The (Gyraru) term seems to have originated out of a 1970s brand of jeans. However, while being a term for a fashion subculture, meanings have a way of changing and being warped depending on the observer. “Gal”, while referring to a general way of dress, has also taken on (at least in this show) to imply that the wearer has looser morals than other girls.

And we come to the show’s premise: A “loser” type of guy ( Junichi) ends up dating a “Gal” (Yukana). Junichi actually asks Yukana out after his friends set him up by putting a note in Yukana’s locker to meet him after school on his behalf. In the thought that Junichi might not remain a virgin if he dates a girl like Yukana, he asks her out. She accepts.

And that’s where the show starts out. It is ecchi…there are boobs…lots of un-naturally chesty high schoolers.

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These are definitely on the ridiculous side.

The overall story follows the development of Junichi and Yukana’s relationship. It is going from the surface to something deeper. What Junichi finds, and I am happy that he does, is that Yukana is a person. Someone with greater depth and kindness who is actually a bit conservative with her affections (despite teasing him every so often). Yukana is very self possessed and isn’t going to even kiss someone who isn’t serious about her.

So what we get with this show is somewhat less ecchi comedy, but more of a high school rom-com. There are the ecchi elements that are to be exploited to be sure, but I felt the point of the anime ended up the development of a more mature relationship between the two protagonists.

This does lead to some confusion I guess…What did this show want to be? An ecchi comedy, fan-service-a-thon, a harem, a rom-com? It kind of attempted to be all things and so never became as good as it could have been I suppose.

The big issue I have with this show was oddly not the ecchi fan service….

It was with this fucker.

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While Junichi’s friends were kind of annoying, this character was repulsive. He likes little girls…he is very vocal about how he likes little girls…the joke is that he’s a future sex offender. That shit isn’t funny. Normalizing pedophiles is not funny or good. Sure, everyone around him in the show comments that he’s not right, but he’s there to be some bit of comedy. It’s not funny.

Attention Parents: This show is ecchi. Heavy fan service. Lots of skin (although no nudity). There are many sexual jokes. There is also a sex predator. You have been warned: do as you will.

This show wasn’t spectacular, and not my usual style of show to watch, but despite this I still enjoyed it. I liked seeing the development of a real relationship between Junichi and Yukana and seeing Junichi’s vision of Yukana evolve over time. The fan service is just kind of there…the supporting characters are just kind of there…the art is decent. It was the relationship for me. Give it a look.

Until next time: Happy viewing!