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!

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge- Day 5

Anime You’re Ashamed You Enjoyed.

Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist

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I’m usually not one for “ecchi” anime, but this one got me.
I can’t even remember what got me to watch it…I think I may have just been bored one day and just started watching it.
It is so over the top…

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It is so immature…

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And so inappropriate for younger viewers…

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But, yes… it cracked me up…I’m not proud…it amused the hell out of me.

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Until next time: Happy viewing…Maybe not as happy as these people, you might get arrested for public indecency.

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A Tale of Two Soul Eaters

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So recently I just finished Soul Eater (late in the game I know) and then followed up with the more recent Soul Eater Not. Two vastly different shows set in the same general universe, produced by the same studio (Bones), but (the anime) written and directed by different people.

I know it is unfair to compare the two and I will try not to, but I am sure my bias will seep through.

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Soul Eater

Students a the DWMA (Death Weapon Meister Academy) train to become proficient at defeating witches and  humans who have strayed the path to become evil and thus their souls have become corrupted. Students generally work in pairs as weapons (students who can physically transform into weapons) and the meisters that wield the weapon. After a meister and weapon have accumulated 99 evil human souls and 1 witch soul (which the weapons absorb) they can become an official “Death Scythe” that can be wielded by Death himself (who founded the academy and the fictional “Death City” where it is located).

The show follows primarily pairs/trio: Maka Albarn and Soul Eater (a Scythe), Black Star and Tsubaki Nakatsukasa (who is able to transform into several weapons associated with ninjitsu), and Death’s son: Death the Kid and his partners Liz and Patty Thompson (both pistols).

The show has a lot going for it.

The story is enjoyable. However, for me, the first six episodes (or so) are a bit annoying and mostly exposition: necessary, just not my favorite part of the series. I know a lot of people prefer the manga story-line, but since I haven’t read it this doesn’t bias me.

The artwork is my favorite thing about this show. It has got it’s own cartoon-ish, nior, Halloween feeling to it that appeals to my aesthetic sensibilities. I love the sun and moon (my favorite background creepers)!

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I watched the English dub and it is absolutely fantastic. I often watch subs since I watch a lot of new material on Crunchyroll, but the dub of this is really good and I highly recommend it if you haven’t watched it.

The soundtrack is really good and I am an absolute sucker for the 2nd OP: “Black Paper Moon” by Tommy Heavenly6.

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Attention Parents: Overall this show, while not harmless, is probably good for the 12 and up set. There is some ecchi stuff early on, mostly with Blair, but this is minimal in the overall picture of the show. There is blood. Black blood and otherwise. There are also themes of abuse, mental illness, infidelity, and madness. All of these themes could be a really interesting talking point with your kids if you watch the show with them.

I loved this show and highly recommend it (as I know many other do as well). And this now brings me to the other Soul Eater….

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Soul Eater Not!

Last year’s Soul Eater Not! jumps into the same universe as the original Soul Eater (Anime ending in 2009). It is classified in the ecchi, comedy, and shounen categories which I don’t think is exactly accurate. It seems to be more of a slice of life, seinen style of show with some yuri suggestion thrown in for good measure. Whatever it is trying to do, it never seems to firmly achieve it.

The story revolves mostly around 3 freshmen students at the DWMA:  Tsugumi Harudori, a weapon (halberd) and two meisters, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn. They are all weapons of the NOT class (Normally Overcome Target) who are there to learn to control their weapons and abilities, as opposed to the EAT class (Extraordinarily Advantaged Talent) which takes their abilities into the field to fight evil humans and witches (ie: the original Soul Eater). Much of the show revolves around Tsugumi’s indecision around which person to pair up with for her meister.

Soul Eater Not! was meant to take place slightly before the main story-line of Soul Eater. Because of this you do get cameos from most of the Soul Eater series characters. Pre-zombie-fied Sid is most heavily used and is treated fairly well as a character. Stein also makes a couple of appearances playing “the wacky doctor” to an annoying effect, I found. Maka serves a small role as some inspiration for Tsugumi as well. The cameos from the original series (with the exception of Sid) felt kind of contrived and forced, but maybe that was me.

The yuri undertones (or maybe overtones?)… I know this is a standard in the “cute girls doing cute things” shows (and this was essentially “cute girls doing cute things” at the DWMA), but my god did they beat you over the head with it. If Meme wasn’t sleep-molesting Tsugumi in some part, then it was Anya getting all tsundere-style jealous that Meme was touching or rubbing up against Tsugumi (maybe I exaggerate, but not much). And then there was the whole side story of Kim Diehl and Jacqueline O’Lantern Dupré (who were both in Soul Eater as side characters) and their whole romance/ friendship/ partnering which seemed largely unnecessary.

And can we talk about boobs for a minute? I know if there is a school anime with a bunch of girls there will be a scene where they talk about their boob size. It’s a given. It is an immutable law of anime. But for gods sake! In Souls Eater Not! they wouldn’t shut up about it!! Fine, mention it one time *eye rolls*, we’re done.  But repeatedly???!!! Can you tell that this annoyed me?

The animation was clean and well done. Is it what I liked from the original? No, but it was meant to be different, so if you accept that, it was animated fine.

The story is weak. It never quite gets a foothold of what it is trying to be. I liked some of the end where it got a little action oriented and thus the characters got some development, but otherwise the show felt largely directionless.

The OP was actually pretty good. Monochrome by Dancing Dolls.

Attention Parents: The show is a bit more ecchi than Soul Eater and has yuri undertones. Otherwise there is no blood and little fighting or challenging themes to deal with.

I do realize I may be being unfair to Soul Eater Not!, but I do feel like it didn’t make clear what ever it was it was trying to do. As a slice of life, or even as a “cute girls doing cute things” show it didn’t live up to it’s potential. If you haven’t watched these shows, maybe Soul Eater Not might be one to watch first and perhaps then enjoyed more?

Happy viewing everyone!

Sometimes It’s Just An Immediate: Nope!

As I’ve stated in postings past I often screen various animes to see whether my younger (now 12 year old) son can watch them. Some I’m watching because I wanted to watch the show and others are just a brief screening for to red or green light a show for him to see. I often don’t get around to every request he has since I don’t have all the time in the world to screen eveerything he comes across.

Sometimes it’s just a: “Nope.”

First episode. First 5 minutes. First impression. All screaming: “This is not appropriate for him” or “If I let him watch this his mother will kill me”.

This season had a few “nopes”.

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Gangsta

A gritty, bloody, crime ridden show. It’s got killing, blood, abuse, prostitution, and all other manners of organized crime. I like the show (even though the plot seems a bit convoluted at times). The animation is good. The main characters are interesting and likable in their own ways. There is an interesting story going on (although it does seem a bit muddled in it’s presentation). But given all that I stated in the first two sentences it is not appropriate for my 12 year old. Hell, I could tell it was a “no go” from the OP sequence.

A good song though….

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Monster Masume

AKA: Everyday Life With Monster Girls. I was pretty suspicious about this one when I clicked on it to watch it. Aaand within the first 5 minutes: “Nope!!!”

It is basically about a guy who has various “Monster Girls” foisted upon him to live in his home as part of a Inter-species Cultural Exchange Program of which he never volunteered for. It is a harem show, except they are monster girls instead of just girls.

It is ridiculously ecchi and, admittedly, it made me crack up a few times at is juvenile sense of humor. That being said: it’s all body part and sex related jokes (and some of the resulting embarrassment along with it). It’s not a bad show I guess. I haven’t felt compelled to keep up with it though. So, it a “Nooo…you can’t watch that…just no.”

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My Wife Is The Student Council President

Okay. I only found out about this show the other day. I didn’t know about Crunchyroll’s Mature settings. I was talking to a coworker and he told me about this show (he likes more ecchi comedies than I do). I told him I hadn’t seen it available and he mentioned the Mature content filter. It comes defaulted to being “on”, so I switched it off and there this show was.

So, I know ahead of time that my son cannot watch this. But curiosity gets the better of me and I watch the first episode. It’s about two high school students who have just found out that their parents arranged for them to be married when they were younger. The girl (the student council president), is taking this arrangement to heart and has shown up at her betrothed’s door step ready to live with him. He tries to scare her off the idea by acting like a “pervert”, but she doesn’t back down from her commitment. And by the end of the episode there is exposed nipples being licked.

Nope. Can’t give the go ahead with that one either.

It’s funny. There is nothing inherently wrong with these shows. Ecchi humor is just that: humor. As a parent, however, I have to decide not what is necessarily “wrong”, but what I will advocate for him to watch. I think my hesitance comes in not with the jokes themselves, but with his maturity to understand the jokes and to take that information into his brain (and out into the world) in a mature fashion. So that is why I will censor these things out. Not because they are bad, but more because I want him to be able to process mature subject matter in a better way than he is able to now. This is not the same for all kids, some can handle it earlier, some later. Just food for thought…

Food Porn! I mean… Wars!

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If there were two standouts from the spring season for me it would be Ore Monogatari and Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars).

If you follow my blog you know that I, and my boys, love Ore Monongatari and often watch it together. That, however, is not the case with Shokugeki no Soma. My 11 year old keeps asking to watch it and I keep saying: “No!”. I am a mean dad who never lets his kids watch anything, but I am comfortable with this fact (please read as sarcasm). But I do have my reasons.

Shokugeki no Soma follows Soma Yukihira, a boy who grew up cooking along side his dad (Joichiro) in his dad’s small restaurant. He wants to surpass his dad’s skills and take over the restaurant one day. As Soma is about to start high school, Joichiro shuts down the restaurant to work overseas and enrolls Soma in an elite,and highly competitive culinary school where only a small percentage of the students graduate.

While shocked, Soma adapts and decides to do his best. Of course making enemies of the first day of school by telling everyone that he’ll be better than them.

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I am a bit of a “foodie”. I love to cook. I have worked in the food industry for a long time, so this show hits the spot for me. It is really, in my mind, a cross between a school anime and Iron Chef with a bit of shounen posturing and ecchi-ness thrown in for good measure.

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I wish I had these kinds of knife skills!

The show is often focused around a cooking challenge of some sort designed to test student’s technical skills or creativity under pressure.

Besides being entertaining I find Soma’s determination and confidence while having some humility as an appealing aspect to the show. He likes when he has satisfied a person eating his food and is supportive of his classmates while still striving to be the best he can be.

If that was all there was to it, I’d let my 11 year old watch it. But then there are scenes like these:

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Which perhaps wouldn’t be so bad, but it resulted in this:

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While I find this hilariously absurd, it is something he probably should wait on. The kid is in puberty for god’s sake: How might this mess with his budding development? (I’m kidding).

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Scenes like these aren’t going to help either (especially if I have to explain to his mother what I let him watch).

So I tell him:

“No.”

“Stop asking.” 

“No.”

“You already know the answer. Why are you still asking?”

Attention Parents: This show is ecchi at times. Most of the the show is actually pretty tame, but then they eat and you get scenes like the above and below.

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That being said. I love the show and am glad it was running on into the summer as well!

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Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it!

-I do not own any of the images in this post.

Spring 2015 Season Watch List

A new season is upon us and after sampling a few shows this is what I’ll be checking out this season.

In no particular order:

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Food Wars: A cooking show where an aspiring middle school cook gets accepted to an elite culinary academy for high school. Looks to be fun to watch, but on the ecchi side. I won’t be letting the 11 year old watch this one.

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Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?: Adventuring, dungeons, warriors, girls, gods…Will it be good? Not sure yet, but has potential. Also somewhat on the ecchi side. Another I won’t let the 11 year old watch.

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My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu Too: I loved the first season of this, hopefully the second will be as good. I am fine with the animation studio change thus far.

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Kinmoza: English exchange students in Japan. A cute show. Pretty harmless. I think my son has watched at least half of the first season of this already.

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Nisekoi: Raku, Chitoge, Onadera,and Tachibana are back! 2nd season of this harem comedy by Shaft. I really enjoyed the first season and have read a bunch of the manga. We’ll see how much they cover in this season and how much filler they ditch.

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Plastic Memories: This looks like an interesting offering about a world where androids (or something like that) have synthetic souls that only have a life span of 9 years before they deteriorate. The show centers around the squad that is going to retrieve the androids at the end of their life span. It has got a good premise. Hopefully it will be a good show.

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Punchline: A guy wakes up after a terrorist attack that happened on a bus back in his apartment building to find that another spirit is occupying his body and he can’t return to it. Now he has to find a book with a ritual to get himself back to his body. But there is a twist. In the building where the book is lives several girls. Fine…Right? No, this is anime. Here’s the twist: If he happens to see a girl’s panties, or gets excited, he has such an extreme reaction that he attracts an asteroid to the planet that destroys the earth. This happens…he turns back time and keeps trying to get his body back. Well obviously I won’t let the younger one watch this. I am not sure if I’ll continue or not.

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Re-Kan! : A girl who can see and befriends ghosts. The others around her can’t see them for the most part, but accept her for the most part, except for one classmate who refuses to believe in spirits. It is a goofy comedy. The jury is still out about how appropriate it is….there is a perverted cat.

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Sound! Euphonium: About a girl who played in the brass band in middle school who decides to join the band club in high school. It looks like a harmless school anime. My largest worry would be whether it will be able to maintain my interest.

Well, That’s it for now. What are you watching?

And the award for the best use of cabbages goes to…..

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The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

I watched this little gem a while back and loved it. It is a school based romantic comedy. The story mostly revolves around Sorata Kanda who is wishing to change his life by first getting out of Sakurasou Hall, a dormitory for the outcasts at his school. Sorata landed there when he refused to give up a stray cat he had adopted.

His life ends up more complicated when a new student, Mashiro Shiina, starts living at Sakurasou. Mashiro, while a brilliant artist, is largely helpless and disconnected from reality from being sheltered her whole life. Sorata ends up on “Mashiro duty”. Caring for her and making sure she navigates through the world.

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Even getting all her clothes on can be a challenge.

The supporting cast of other residents make the the show a pleasure to watch. The shut in computer programmer, the seemingly irresponsible teacher, and the insanely gregarious anime artist all made it a fun show.

The animation is decent, so no complaints there. The pacing is a little slow in the second season, but I forgave that over all.

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Attention Parents: There is sexual humor, bra and underwear shots, and general sexual innuendo. Do what you will.

Overall the show is a sweet rom-com with a good sense of humor. I liked it and hope you enjoy it as well.

It also has a bizarrely addictive OP.

And the full version (because I LOVE IT).

And the award for the best use of cabbages goes to….Kamiigusa Misaki!

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Bondage and My Favorite Drunk Woman

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The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior was definitely one of my favorite shows of the last year. A low brow, slice of life comedy with heart is my best way of describing this gem.

The show follows  Kazunari Usa, a freshman starting high school. He is happy to be getting the chance to live on his own in a boarding house away from his family. He soon finds out that the place where he will be living in populated by strange characters much to his dismay. The only thing keeping him there (aside from his parents being unwilling to pay more money) is his discovery that his senpai (Ritsu Kawai), who he has a crush on, also lives there.

The Characters make the show. While not particularly deep, they are thoroughly enjoyable.

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Ritsu is mostly off inn her own world reading a book.

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There is Shirosaki, Usa’s mildly perverted masochist roommate.

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Sayaka. A manipulative college student who likes to sexually harass another of the residents.

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Mayumi Nishikino. A foul mouthed, sometimes drunk, working woman who has bad luck with men (also my favorite).

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And Sumiko. The manager of The Kawai Complex. A sweet woman with a bit of a devious side. She is also Ritsu’s great Aunt.

All these characters make for good comedy. That alone didn’t sell it for me. They gave the comedy and the characters depth and a heart. While Shirosaki is a pervert, he has standards (which seems funny to write, but true). He also has a big heart. There is an episode where he sends his days building a Pythagoras with an elementary school girl who seemed to not be getting along with her friends and he (along with other residents) helps her repair her friendships. So while there is silly comedy there is a heart as well.

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The art is also well done.

Attention Parents:

The show has Drunkenness, Jokes about bondage, and adult humor. You have been informed, what you do with this is now up to you.

Please watch this show. You won’t regret it. It is fun and that is what entertainment should be.

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