Early Impressions: URAHARA [Dropped]

URAHARA 3

(This series has since been dropped. There will be no entry for it for the foreseeable future.)

Three episodes in, it ended up not meaning anything.

With this gone, I am now down to only one seasonal anime to view on a weekly basis. If anyone has something to recommend that is not complete garbage, please feel free.

With the first episode of URAHARA, I was charmed by its attempts at appearing somewhat off. I had anticipated that it would take this incredibly avant-garde color palette and premise to places that would end up being intriguing to dissect. Through three episodes, I saw no signs of anything of the sort, so as my patience continued to wane, as did my interest in continuing along with the series. Truth be told, I didn’t even watch three whole episodes, only two and about twelve minutes of the third, only to skim through the rest to see if I would miss anything. I wouldn’t.

Three girls are within their own world of Harajuku (I believe it was called) when aliens come out of nowhere and start taking various artifacts of human culture to have for themselves. A talking shrimp puff that doubles as a scarf for a mysterious little girl explains that the aliens cannot think creatively for themselves, so they steal landmarks of creativity from other planets to compensate for it. The three girls are given powers (I genuinely cannot remember how or why) that allow them to combat these thieving aliens and the rest, well, kinda plays out like a villain of the week, Saturday-morning cartoon. All the clichés are present with none of the charm from the characters or consequences of the plot at hand.

URAHARA 2

Skipping ahead from my normal structure, art is something that made me both stay at first and leave at the end. It’s very simplistic design, with a lot of rough-around-the-edges style of animation that made it seem incredibly amateurish. Once again, I was suspicious as to whether the series was doing this purposely as a form of parody or satire, which made me question the style they presented (lots of girly, light colors). With no evidence of anything of the sort, I can say with almost certainty that the animation is simply atrocious and the studio behind it takes numerous shortcuts that reek of low budgeting and laziness. Hell, characters don’t even have the same succinctness to their jawlines scene-after-scene.

There are some things I could say about the story of URAHARA, but there’s a deterrent to my further elaboration: what story? Aliens rob Earth of their culture, then a giant bubble surrounds a certain portion of the girls’ town and then… they do stuff. They do normal girl things and hardly worry about it. They talk to each other and develop their friendship. And at the end of each episode, an alien conveniently swoops in and starts shit, only to be defeated without much effort. That’s about as much as I can remember articulate. Simply put, it’s pretty dull, with only the expectation that better things are yet to come leading me along with this nonsensical production.

URAHARA 1

It would at least be tolerable if the characters weren’t cardboard cutouts of… anything, really. There is so little differentiation between these three girls that it barely matters what any of them do. One is a blunt, yet shy fashionista (who I liked at first). Another is a soft-spoken and absent-minded accumulation of girliness. And the last, I guess she’s the “main” one, is the main character. Any veterans of the industry can immediately fill in the blanks with only “the main one” as context, sadly. Altruistic, you before me, normal in almost every regard, nothing stands out except their “chosen one” background. These three have little expression to them, nor do they have a lot of intriguing chemistry. Chemistry they have, but it’s nothing one hasn’t seen before. Almost akin to the chemistry one sees between background characters that’s never elaborated on.

I thought I’d picked a sleeper when the synopsis of this anime popped out at me. The burst of color, absurdist premise, and the hunch in my brain made it seem ripe with potential; for the first episode, I still believed it to be there. Time has gone by and nothing has shown for it. It’s dull and empty. Unbelievable that a plot this strange and an environment so colorful and bouncy can be this boring. I almost want to make my own URAHARA and fill it with strange symbolic gobbledygook parodying Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, while also establishing a point of emphasis on the way girls with superpowers in anime are expected to behave in the eyes of the general public. Oh, what could be with enough work.

Entries from the Dead: Mirai Nikki

mirai nikki

[Dropped after twelve episodes.]

Yet another tricky addition to a series already perturbed by the inefficiency of my faulty memory. Mirai Nikki, like Seto no Hanayome, has very little written within my anime list’s archives, so any crutch I may have in pinpointing a specific reason(s) as to why I didn’t continue a particular series is all up to remembering how I was years prior. What I do recall is that there’s a somewhat unordinary reason to my putting the series on-hold.

Flashback to the 2014 Summer of Anime. Starting in the second week of June, I decided to watch Mirai Nikki out of simple curiosity. However, outside influences forced me to watch the series quickly. Every year, family members come up from the southern states of the United States to visit my family and I for about a week or two; in that time, I barely have enough energy to watch even a few episodes of anime, much less marathoning a whole series in one day. Wanting to get a head start, I picked out a series I felt I could watch quickly, as my time limit was within eight hours before they were to arrive. When I got to the twelfth episode, I did the math in my head and determined that I wouldn’t finish the series in time before I had to leave, so I abandoned the series for Ebiten, which only had ten episodes.

It wasn’t until a few days after the fact that I realized that I had done the math wrong in my head—I could have finished Mirai Nikki in the time allotted throughout that day. Not only did I essentially drop Mirai Nikki for no reason, wasting the time spent watching a whole twelve episodes of it, but I subjected myself to the entirety of Ebiten, which was not pleasant.

Mirai Nikki itself was somewhat interesting as a case study, as it had all the reasons to be a gripping and insightful story, but it was also tremendously problematic. Many complain about the male lead being too much of a crybaby, though I would disagree and say that he’s only minimally exaggerated in the situation he’s been placed in. Does every teenager fantasize about being placed in a Hunger Games-esque scenario of fantastic bloodshed? Certainly not. My victim of shoddy characterization comes in the form of Yuuno Gasai, which I’m aware is a controversial statement. To me, she is the pinnacle of everything tryhard about fantasy plots involving weak main characters being carried by unstoppable forces because why not? Her weaknesses are constantly being evaporated by her will to protect the male lead, and no matter what happens, the only thing interesting about her is the mystery behind her affection for the male lead and whether her obsession will cause the demise of those around him. That’s her only shtick, at least up through twelve episodes. Heed that this entire entry is from someone who has seen not even half of the entire series.

I suppose her symbol as a realistic and uninhibited yandere makes her an immensely likable and moe character to many. For me, that symbol needs to come with something more, so that she doesn’t become predictable and/or flat as a character for the entire ride.

The recollection of various scenes, including one where Yuuno is implied to be brutally raped if the male lead doesn’t come to save her in time, sift through my memory in incomplete patches, disallowing me to really articulate what I didn’t care for about the series. In all honesty, if it wasn’t for my slip-up, I likely would’ve continued it, but at this point, I wouldn’t pick it up without restarting the entire series, which may be why I never have. If nothing else, it’s entertaining in its desire to make everything seem dark and depressing—and, of course, coolly suspenseful. It reminds me of Deadman Wonderland somewhat… though that didn’t turn out too well upon a rewatch…

What all of this may boil down to is, “It’s entertaining, but a dumb kind of entertaining.” I wasn’t totally in-tune with my critiquing prowess as I am now three years ago, so that may shed doubt as to whether I’d even find the series engrossing today. Writing this out, part of me would really like to continue it, almost making this post pointless, but with life becoming more and more constricting, it may settle itself within the graveyard of series I dropped almost on a whim, never to find their day in the rays of my focused retinas.

Entries from the Dead: Seto no Hanayome

seto no hanayome

[Dropped after three episodes.]

There is some tricky context to the arrival of this post. On one hand, I like the idea of doing posts on things that I’ve dropped in the past and explaining why I couldn’t bare to go on with them. However, I still have thirty-six episodes of Aria to finish before writing my thoughts on that, so this is also a shameless filler post. I’ll admit before going on that this post won’t analyze Seto no Hanayome in its entirety—thus making it somewhat short—seeing as I dropped it after only three episodes and it’s been nearly five years since I’ve done so. But the prospect of bringing this series back up after so long could provide some more clarity not just to me, but others who are to look at my list and say “Hey! How could he drop that?!

Humorously enough, there isn’t much of a comment for this series in my list, either, so I’ll have to try and recall what I thought of this series based on an hour’s worth of footage from five years ago. Clearly, my words on the matter hold full weight.

If I could describe Seto no Hanayome in a single analogy, it would be the comparison to American TV sitcoms. Random, yes, but I feel there’s a lot of truth to it. One of the standards of sitcoms, based on mainstream comedy, is the basis of a lack of communication or context resulting in misery and/or embarrassing situations for a single or group of characters. I (and I’m sure many others) have seen this in a gargantuan number of different scenarios, and sometimes even outside of the sitcom format. Seto no Hanayome, at least its first three episodes, lives off of this. The lack of communication resulting in characters jumping to conclusions, flaring of emotions due to ignorance, and the exaggerated reactions that result from it.

I cannot stand this type of comedy in large quantities.

Anime in general takes quite a bit to make me laugh, as I don’t find a lot of its humor to be all that clever. This makes it all the more special when a comedy does get me to chuckle a few times. This onslaught of one-dimensional humor was tolerable at first, but as the episodes rolled by, I couldn’t help but feel what began as a tinge of pain result in unbearable monotony. The one thing I remember very vividly being slightly funny was the male lead’s strange, homosexual fascination with the female lead’s butler(?). It was different, I suppose.

Aside from that, while I have little basis for this (Call it a gut feeling), I felt the series was treading the line of the typical shounen romance story. Lots of small, tender interactions between the main couple crowded by interference from the female lead’s overprotective father and various extraneous circumstances that take up a good chunk of the anime’s run. This medley of misadventures eventually becomes more dark as the final episodes roll by as the male lead has to show himself to be capable/willing to take the female lead’s love in the face of adversity.

For anyone who has seen this, am I right? Or am I mostly right? Kind of right?

I think those two points are the major reasons as to why I didn’t care for the show, but who’s to say I won’t pick it back up eventually? It was by no means horrible, just not something I felt was worth my time, even back when I found things such as Nyan Koi! as worth my time. To those familiar with the franchise, with this post in mind, should I pick it back up? Or am I right in assuming it eventually leads to where I expect it to? Thanks, as always, for reading!

Entries from the Dead: Re:Birth – The Lunatic Taker (Dropped After 13 Chapters) (Explicit, Spoilers)

WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

WHY MUST WE FIGHT LIKE THIS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!?!??!

KILLING OTHER HUMAN BEINGS IS BAD. DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT’S THAT? WE’RE BEING ACTIVELY HUNTED BY OTHER “TAKERS” THAT WANT TO STEAL OUR “LIFE POINTS” AWAY FROM US?!?!?!? THAT’S SO AWFUL!!!!

DON’T WORRY!!! MY NEE-SAN IS THE STRONGEST PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE FOR SOME REASON!!!! AND I’M USELESS BECAUSE I HAVE THE PENIS??????????????????

NEE-SAN NO!!! DON’T KILL THE PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO KILL US!!! THAT’S……….

IMMORAL.

NEE-SAN?!?!?! WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL THE PEOPLE TRYING TO KILL US?!!!? MY NEE-SAN WOULDN’T KILL PEOPLE TO PROTECT US!!!!!!!!!! YOU’RE NOT THE REAL NEE-SAN!!!!!!!! I HATE YOUOUOUOUOUO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Will this asshole ever shut the fuck up? The number one reason I decided to drop this shit: self-righteous male protagonist is whinier than an infant with a wedgie, and constantly disregards what would be the logical thing to do TO SECURE HIS SAFETY because it’s “wrong.”

Killing people is bad. It doesn’t matter what kind of torture they put us through. It doesn’t matter if it’s only one of two ways (and the easier way, as proven by those who tried to kill them) to KEEP US ALIVE AND AWAY FROM HARM. We are NOT savages. Killing people is icky. Our pride as human beings is stronger than that.

Y’know that snooty character who talks down to everyone about their ideals and beliefs like they’re garbage? That character that everyone wishes was dead? That’s the male protagonist of this story, except he’s “pure-hearted and innocent.” Fuck him. I wish he was dead. God damn idiot.

Accurate.

Accurate.

That’s just the first layer, though. The first layer?! All that was just the first layer?! Indeed. That one character was so bad it received it’s very own spotlight of shame. This entire story is bad. I’ll scratch it all off bit by bit. I wouldn’t recommend sniffing it afterwards.

The story is constantly trying to shove this “HUMANITY IS DEEPER THAN MINDLESS KILLING” shit at the reader like it’s supposed to be profound. Humans shouldn’t kill other humans like it’s nothing. Humans are better than that.

It’s okay if they kill other creatures, though. Fuck them.

They are constantly doing this. Chapter after screeching chapter. Especially after the base plot is set up. Vomiting big words and pseudo-philosophical jargon like they’re Aristotle. Why is this happening? Why are we doing this? What is the meaning of everything? Is killing other humans the right thing to do? Should we kill these incredibly attractive chicks with giant swords and brightly-colored panties because they’re trying to kill us? Is killing them last better than killing them first? Does Nee-san want my dick? (Genuine concern… not noticed by the male protagonist.)

SHUT UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP

I don’t care. I never cared. At all.

Stop.

Yes, stupid. Stop talking.

Yes, stupid. Stop talking.

That’s the second layer of this poisonous cake. Or onion. Whatever. Let’s recap in case my frenzied ranting has lost you:

First layer: Horribly whiny male protagonist with the I.Q. of -450,000 thinks with his heart instead of the black hole within his tiny cranium.

Second layer: 2deep4u plot devices that bombard the reader upon every “NEE-SAN’S ABOUT TO KILL THIS BITCH, BUT THEN-” Horribly, horribly preachy. And downright stupid with the plot that Re:Birth has set up for itself.

Now then, the third layer: Nee-san. She’s stronger than everyone. She’s invincible. She’s God. She doesn’t train. She doesn’t practice. She doesn’t do shit to improve her skill. When danger approaches, she just fucking learns shit on the fly like it’s nothing. Y’know what’s good for suspense? Knowing that no matter what happens, Nee-san will settle everything in the end because she always does. Truly, truly fantastic. I am not being sarcastic at all. Not. One. Fucking. Bit. I love when 99.999999999999999999999% of action shounen titles pull this shit.

God damn it.

I hope you’re hungry. It’s time for the fourth layer: TakerNet. What the hell is “TakerNet?” TakerNet is an online messageboard that Takers go to to brag about how many people they’ve killed and discuss hidden abilities they’ve encountered. Better yet, when an individual logs into TakerNet, the website magically tells them their skill level, hidden abilities, their available Life Points, and whatever else they care to learn about themselves.

I really hope that you, the person who is reading this right now, can tell me why that last paragraph is hilariously stupid. It’s not gonna stop me from going over it, but it’s nice to get some outside input.

How does this website know who’s logging in? How does this website know ANYTHING about ANY ONE of these people? Why is this website so in-depth with “hidden abilities?” Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of “hidden?”

Not to mention, Takers log into this site and TALK ABOUT MURDERING PEOPLE.

RING RING RING

911 OPERATOR: HELLO. HOW CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?

ME: DUDE. YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT THIS WEBSITE CALLED TAKERNET. THESE GUYS ARE TALKING ABOUT THEY JUST KILLED MY FRIEND RODRIGUEZ BY INSERTING A MACHETE INTO HIS ASSHOLE. CAN I GET POLICE TO INVESTIGATE THIS?

911 OPERATOR: WHAT YOU JUST SAID SOUNDS KIND OF STUPID.

ME: I KNOW, BUT I’M BEING SERIOUS, DESPITE THE CAPITALIZATION.

911 OPERATOR: I’LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO.

ME: OK TY ❤

911 OPERATOR: WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT.

800,000 calls concerning TakerNet later.

ANYONE WITH A BRAIN AND POLICE BADGE: GEE, I THINK WE SHOULD PROBABLY LOOK INTO THIS “TAKERNET” THING.

I’m so full. I can’t eat this whole cake/onion by myself.

Okay, layer five: Blood and tits. Fan service. Fan service everywhere. Not just with skin, but the lack of skin, too. Death and tits peruse nearly every bloody scene. It’s almost akin to Freezing, which was also complete shit that made no sense. Y’know what else paraded this manga like a virus? Disturbed facial expressions. Like, looks of horror, trauma, near-death experiences, shock, disgust, srs biznss, etc. Lots of shading around the upper face to make the eyes stand out. And, well, removing one of the eyes altogether. It just looks waaaaaaay too edgy for me to take seriously… not that I did in the first place, but it didn’t help. Otherwise, the art was pretty typical.

Yes, stupid. Stop talking.

Yes, stupid. Stop talking.

Okay. I’ve cooled off. This was just something I wanted to get off my fingertips. It was a frustrating battle, but I made a tactical retreat to retain enough of my sanity to continue forward through a different path. Re:Birth is just… wow. Don’t fucking read it. Ever.