Thoughts on Yama no Susume (Season One) and Why I’ll Never Give Shorts High Marks


As odd as it may be to bring this up here, but I’m very much looking forward to the release of Oshiete! Galko-chan’s standalone OVA in the coming days. I found myself charmed by the refreshingly realistic (albeit still cliché) banter among the teenage female cast. Despite this, one may be confused to see the relatively low rating I gave to the parent series—a measly five out of ten. If I enjoyed the series so much, why not rate it higher? It all has to do with the way I formulate my ratings.

Good stories take time. There are some that require less time than others, depending on the type of narrative being presented, but for the most part, I feel there’s a necessary amount of focus necessary to fully develop an enthralling and immersive experience. Take Shelter, for example, which is highly regarded for the depth of the story it presents in a puny six-minute music video. I, however, didn’t care for this as I felt it wasn’t enough to make me believe and trust the story as real, or real enough to empathize with. Such is the issue with anime shorts and those who aren’t given ample time to showcase all that it could while juggling other priorities such as entertainment value. Yama no Susume is yet another example, with twelve episodes spanning only three and a half minutes per piece.


Many would think that seeing a four out of ten would give the indication that I didn’t care for this series. This is both true and false, as I could very well do without the experience of seeing it, but that’s not to say I didn’t like it. At best, I feel Yama no Susume’s debut season to be a harmless bundle of fun, full of cute girls deciding various things related to mountain climbing. There isn’t much that the series does to really try and flesh out the characters aside from their base personalities and precursor conflicts. The female lead, Aoi, is scared of heights due to a traumatic accident on the playground that left her with a broken arm. Her childhood friend, Hinata, made a promise with her that they would climb mountains together in the future. With this ironic contrast, how does the series decide to have Aoi get over her fears? By climbing a mountain in the third episode. Very little hesitation, very little struggle along the way. A clumsy foundation that leads to a simple slice-of-life flick with some bouts of moe to pave the way to the finish line.

A solid foundation isn’t necessary to a show’s success, sure. This feeling plays more into another reason I never rate shorts above a five or so: they feel more like a distraction than an experience; a snack instead of a meal; a bottle rocket instead of super shells. I’ve yet to experience an anime with episodes under ten minutes or so that I feel give me everything I’m looking for in objective entertainment. Perhaps this is unfair, as I’m trying to compare shows with longer runtimes and (likely) better effort to showcase something more. However, the cycle of quality based on my own interpretation of it rings true for whatever is put forth in front of me, compromising by highlighting the things that are important in making a particular work “good.” After all, were I to objectively criticize porn, a key factor would be whether or not I, ahem, become engrossed in it. I would still focus on other aspects nonetheless, but why try to criticize a horse for being a goat, eh?


With this rises the question of whether or not Yama no Susume does well with what it tries to accomplish. What exactly does it accomplish, though? Cute girls are mountain climbing. There’s that. Aoi, however, is given a little insight into her situation and has key faults in her character highlighted as the story goes along. She’s socially awkward, hesitant in her decisions, and not confident in her own abilities. By series’ end, she does experience an ounce of growth in her resolve, resulting in a more peaceful atmosphere of events to transpire. For this, the series is worth watching, though only for those expecting the bare minimum in development. As I’ve said many times, making a character go from weak to strong is among the easiest of blueprints to execute. Anything else? Well… it’s easy-going, I suppose. I feel it makes the series more dull with only Aoi going through what most humans can relate to. Other characters simply fill space or provide to the… humor(?) of the anime. There isn’t a whole lot of comedy present. Or drama. Or romance. Or anything aside from acute tranquility.

So despite the low score, Yama no Susume as an anime short isn’t necessarily a bad watch. It just doesn’t do much different from those within its own classification, such as Oshiete! Galko-chan or Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, both of which I feel are better shorts overall. With its second season being bumped up to a two-cour series with eleven-minute runtimes, perhaps it can do better with what it couldn’t do with its first batch. That, however, doesn’t make Yama no Susume’s first season any less forgettable, though not without some enthusiasm.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Ruining SE (System Engineer)


(Note, as always, that “ruining” is akin to “spoiling in a mocking way.”)

It’s humorous to me when a manga goes so far to tease every sexual urge of its demographic while also trying to maintain an air of sincerity. Of course, going into a manga with a premise like SE‘s, one shouldn’t be surprised by the abundantly ecchi atmosphere that is to arise from almost every situation. A college boy who’s very competent in computer programming decides to talk to a girl who often rides the same train as him, only to accidentally knock over her bag and reveal that she has something referred to as a “sex sleeve.” Well, sex was mentioned in the manga, may as well make it the driving force behind everything that happens.


Much to the boy’s surprise, the girl is conveniently a genius, responsible for an aspiring company focusing on the construction of the perfect… sex sleeve. Her hopes and dreams lie on the ultimate sexual pleasure of the male kind. Yes, of all things a young, attractive, docile woman can go crazy for, it’s masturbation tools. And crazy she goes, leading to an overdrawn, tensile display of getting the reader up just enough, only to delay the finish to another time. This is no Super Mario Bros., either. The journey there isn’t exactly memorable or fun.


SE is a manga that pleases its audience through use of both sexual fan service and narrative fan service. Sexual fan service needs no explanation, but narrative fan service may need some elaboration. When reading a story, one might notice some odd events transpiring without any sort of build-up, commitment, or any contextual continuity. Something along the lines of a hero saving a princess, only to end up with a random cohort they met along the way, with an added ending scene where the couple live peacefully with children and all their hopes and dreams fulfilled. The sort of fairy tale “Happily Ever After” fill-in that occasionally feels shoe-horned in to appease the major audience. While I understand the peace that comes with revealing a satisfying ending and giving every character a “good end,” there are moments when I feel the intentions behind it feel arbitrary, leading to a metaphorical blow to the jaw rather than a warm hug from Heaven.

What most dissatisfies me with the execution of SE is that everything feels so two-faced. To appease the audience, to appeal to those primal urges. To give the smug sense of the author knowing what the common reader wants and doing so without doing enough to conflict with the impact of the story. The main couple almost had sex. They’ll be embarrassed about it tomorrow at work, hahaha! Let’s repeat the process about eight times before having them actually do anything substantial! That’ll fill the chapters up! It’s so convenient that the female lead was in love with the male lead on first sight because he looked in her general direction like a stalker. It’s common sense that women are attracted to potential sexual predators because they’re secretly super horny!


The carefree nature of the manga only adds to the narrative fan service I’ve previously alluded to. Nothing is at stake, and whatever is will obviously come to fruition because everything has to be accomplished for the sake of a good ending. That’s assuming anything is at stake, as despite the fact that the female lead’s company sports a whopping five employees, including herself, who single-handedly develops most of the shit she thinks of because she’s a “genius,” nothing ever really gets done. There is a false assumption that something may get done during the opening chapters when everything is being explained to the male lead, but is quickly derailed once the power couple finds an interest in railing each other. Whenever something is getting done, then faces a problem, it’s usually the fault of the female lead, who’s too occupied with thinking about sucking dick (Not exaggerating) to use her “genius” abilities to get said thing done. The manga in its entirety feels like a show, a raunchy, empty show about a girl who wants to fuck until she’s ripped in half playing Bill Gates with her “supreme intellect” and a boy who happens to wander inside and become the object of the female lead’s sexual urges. It’s okay, though. It’s totally consensual. She’s super hot, why wouldn’t it be? Icing on the cake, nothing ever goes wrong long-term. Everything is resolved and the company becomes successful and every conceivable couple becomes a couple and everyone is happy. Fuck me.


There is a glimmer of satisfaction, however, to those hoping for any sort of positive feature to SE. Despite the story and characters being gobs of gleefully sexual goop, there is a single character who is, to some extent, tolerable. He joins the cast late and is implied to have a sort of romantic connection to another established character who is actually two-faced. Non-affectionately referred to as the “Silver Bullet,” this old man has a tendency to insult the ever-shitting fuck out of the little puny-pussies in the office, similarly to the way I’m phrasing his introduction in this post. Call it my cynicism identifying with a character who has zero-tolerance for others and takes their job seriously, but despite him being an obvious pain in the ass and only slightly useful to the tasks assigned of him, he makes the pages go by with more enthusiasm. This character is probably the only good I can really say about SE as a whole, as its attempts at comedy, romance, and THE POWER OF EMOTIONS! are all putrid. The art isn’t too bad, though compared to more chic titles that have come out in the last few years, it doesn’t much hold up. Need any more indication? Look at the cover image of this post and look how s-k-i-n-n-y the female lead is.

A long, hard, and stiff story short, SE would be good as a mindless, sexual guilty read. Something along the lines of Yomeiro Choice, but more grounded in reality (in some ways). It doesn’t challenge itself and only gives the reader the most mundane of narrative and character foundations. The intrigue presented by the premise baited me into a victim. Don’t let it get you, too.

Oh, and the female lead has some sort of disease that is possibly fatal but she lives in the end anyway so whatever.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

10k Viewer Special: What My Favorite Anime Say About Me

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Two days ago, WordPress statistics showed that I amassed 10,000 views on my blog! Thank you all so much for continuing to tune in and read my critiques and thoughts on various subjects from movies to anime to video games. To commemorate the occasion, I’ve decided to take upon analyzing… myself! To take the reader into the deeper portions of my twisted psyche and explain why I love the anime that I do. I’ve thought upon this subject a little throughout the years, but never felt I had a deep enough pool of titles to choose from. Now that I’ve seen over 250 anime titles (and re-watched all of my favorites at least once), I’m comfortable enough to know what I cherish most.

I’ll also publicly state that this idea was heavily inspired by this thread on the MyAnimeList community forums.

My four favorite anime, at the time that I am writing this, are Toradora!KatanagatariOokami to Koushinryou, and Dennou Coil. Just in case you weren’t familiar with the titles from the picture above. On the surface, these anime don’t tend to have a lot in common, whether it be setting, animation style, or focus of the narrative. In fact, Toradora! and Dennou Coil are completely opposite to Katanagatari and Ookami to Koushinryou in terms of the year the story takes place. My favorites tend to have a varying blend of different distinctive qualities to them. However, there is something that sticks out like a sore thumb, if one has seen these anime from start to finish.

Setting aside Dennou Coil, the three anime left all have an integral focus on romance. While the importance of romance in Katanagatari is debatable, they all thrive within the finicky feeling to both progress the plot and develop the characters. Though romance is a common theme in most anime titles, there’s something inherently similar with the romance among these three titles. It focuses on two characters (for the most part) slowly getting to know one another through a mutual desire to work together towards a similar goal. Taiga and Ryuuji from Toradora! want to get with each other’s friend. Togame from Katanagatari wants to collect the twelve legendary swords, while Shichika joins her simply out of “love.” Holo from Ookami to Koushinryou wants to travel back to her homeland, while Kraft, a traveling salesman, wishes to do business along the way. Each anime casts a heavy focus on putting two important characters together and having them share a momentous amount of screen time (and implied off-screen time) together. Over the course of their respective anime, the male and female lead eventually begin to understand each other more than they ever cared to before, which is another point to make: the major characters in each anime have no prior personal connection to one another before the anime begins. They start off as complete strangers, only to mold into something more.

So what does this say about me? One might assume based on what I’ve described that I just really want a girlfriend. While that may be true to some regard, I feel it’s more that I relish the building of a relationship between two people from beginning to end, and friendships can only go so far before the emotional spike hits the ceiling. I’ve had many chance encounters with people online and off that develop into meager acquaintances or casual friendships, but it’s those certain few who you want to let inside your world, and they the same for you, that tickle my fancy for blooming relationships. Very few times have I met that person who would continue to pique my interest in them for long periods, despite knowing next to everything about them. This isn’t only applied to romantic partners, either. Friendships can have an everlasting impact on the well-being of an individual, but I’ve always been intrigued with the concept of love and how the people involved deal with it. It’s one thing to see it in fictional media such as anime, but to see it in person, with people who aren’t always the same frame after frame, is always bewildering, whether good or bad. As an aspiring critic, I enjoy critiquing works created by people, but what might be the most difficult and satisfying subject of all are the people who created that work.

As such, a critic’s tastes in anything are bound to develop over time. I watched Toradora! and Ookami to Koushinryou in June of 2012, while Katanagatari was later in December. Until Dennou Coil earlier this year, I was torn between various titles as to what would be my fourth (and even fifth) favorite anime. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was up there for a while, then eventually teetered off as my experience with anime grew further out. Gosick was also a contender very early on (as another series that focused on two strangers, male and female, developing a bond over time), but a recent “re-watch” (of half an episode) reminded me of how trivial the series really was. Finally, White Album 2 held a spot among my favorites for about a half a year, but even that began to wane in self-perceived quality thinking back to it. That’s in desperate need for a re-watch. It wasn’t until Dennou Coil, viewed early on in the 2016 Summer of Anime, that I managed to find something I felt comfortable enough putting among my favorites list. Needless to say, it’s not exactly from the same family as the favorites that came before it.

Dennou Coil is an interesting phenomenon. It doesn’t involve two opposite-sex strangers developing a bond over time working towards a similar goal, nor does it even star characters within my age range (Toradora! had teenage characters, while Katanagatari and Ookami to Koushinryou had adult characters). Dennou Coil is more keen on imaginative world-building and developing the bonds between friends and family members, along with an almost whimsical study of denial and letting go. It’s an anime that took me by surprise; I would’ve never guessed I’d become so fond of it based on the first few episodes. And I think, above all, Dennou Coil is the first anime to really impress me without having to tickle my fetishes or tinker with my subjective biases. It’s an anime that, back in 2012, I wouldn’t really care to partake in, whether it be because of the age-range of characters (most are kids), the style of the animation, or the G rating (I like my series dark). It seems so “kiddy” on the surface, like it would only appeal to little kids, y’know? Luckily for me, this plays out more like a Studio Ghibli film than Norm of the North.

As I said before, Dennou Coil is the first anime I’ve favorited without having it appeal to my many subjective biases, but that doesn’t mean there were things about the series I didn’t feel emotionally connected to. A central topic in Dennou Coil is death, an area which I haven’t had to deal with often. Many of my relatives (ones I feel close to, anyway) are still alive and kicking, and I never had any friends be subjected to freak accidents or anything of the sort. The only thing that comes close was the death of a family cat that lived with me for nine years. It’s both good and bad to say that the most traumatic death I’ve ever experienced in my life was the death of a cat I had for nine years. However, Dennou Coil also deals with coping with death, or the loss of a loved one. Perhaps because of my inexperience with death, I struggle emotionally handling things of a similar nature. That section above about the chance encounters with people online and off? Many of those people, both with whom I was close and not so close to, are gone now. They didn’t die, but we eventually drifted apart. I no longer speak to many of them, which in a way counts as a “loss.” A few of them were people I felt close to, likely too close, and the ensuing difference in interest caused friction within the relationship. I understand it’s more trivial than something as permanent as death, but things like that bother me greatly, and Dennou Coil reminded me of my own struggles with letting others go. Most importantly, it reminded me that life goes on, even after all the turmoil.

The difference in time between my favorites also shows my evolution as a critic. In 2012, I was young, practically a child (if 19-year-olds were children). I would let my love for romance and uninhibited emotional growth between two people cloud out the flaws present within the anime. I would overrate anime if it tickled my romantic bias enough (See: Mayo Chiki!GosickBaka to Test to ShoukanjuuKami-sama no Memochou). Now-a-days, if an anime so much as shows a single panty shot, I rate it a 1. Just kidding. But I’ve become much less tolerant of ecchi clichés and… well, clichés in general. Perhaps that’s why it took so long to find another permanent replacement for a favorite after Katanagatari, because I was so stubborn with my own expectations that it took something completely off my radar to find a suitable heir apparent. I’ve just become more picky. When you compare everything romance to Toradora!, it’s hard to find another Toradora!.

This is all subject to evolve within the years, but I think what I’ve listed now is a good start in showing what kind of person I am and how my favorite anime reflect that. I think this post would’ve been a lot more dull had Dennou Coil not been on there. It certainly would have cut about five hundred words or so. I think it’s interesting to see the contrast between my three first favorites and the one that came long afterwards. I suppose sometime in the future I’ll have to do the same for my favorite manga… except all my favorite manga are what I enjoy about my favorite anime, so it’d be a little redundant. The one thing I can guarantee after reading this post is that you, the reader, will know that I’m very fond of romance. And that I am incredibly grateful for taking time out of your day to read my blog. Thanks again for 10,000 views, and happy reading!

You can find all my favorites and their ratings on MyAnimeList.

Entry #24: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (SoA 2016)

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I really wish I could’ve put “AnoHana” in the title, but that wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

<Slight spoilers ahead.>

I also really wish I could continue on with this entry without stating this, but I can’t: this series is insanely popular. Ever since it debuted in 2011, AnoHana has been the talk of the town for both anime and drama enthusiasts. I’ve seen it on numerous Top 10 Best Anime lists and amongst individual people’s favorites. It currently has a 8.64 average rating on MyAnimeList with scores from over 260,000 people. With that kind of praise and near-universal acclaim, one couldn’t help but go into this expecting a modern masterpiece the likes of Evangelion or Ashita no Joe. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate.

There’s a certain intrigue to this series that arose in my mind as I continued to watch the first few episodes. It was setting something up, I could feel it. Something grand, something spectacular. The characters were slowly, but surely opening up the pathways to their deepest and darkest regrets in a way that I felt would accumulate into something more. The pacing was on point and the story began to sprout out of the creative soil. The characters were decent, but time will only make them better. The story was building, growing, changing. The animation began to interact with the mood, highlighting the little bits of grief or regret that certain characters would face. That feeling of nostalgia and the fleeting passage of time constricting the characters’ whims and motivations to a point of acting upon their hearts’ desires. All of this and more, leading up to the final climax. The final feeling of…


anohana 1

What can I say? Everything about this series was fine… to a certain point. The characters were fine. The animation was fine. The story was fine. The pacing was fine. The development was fine. Everything was just fine, a far cry from what an emotionally-engaging drama should do for a man with a disheveled heart like mine. I remained interested, but never truly immersed. I felt for the characters, but never really cared. Everything about this series seems to stretch out farther than it could possibly reach. It’s an attempt to produce a piece of art out of sheer empathy, and the residual power of nostalgia, regret, change, and love. But without the proper (and very strategic) placement of the pieces that create the body of work, this piece of art will become the likes of Frankenstein’s monster. AnoHana is somewhere in between, with the physical make-up of a beautiful creature, but without the ability to acclimate into a place it can call home.

This anime is almost like the fleeting feeling it tries so hard to replicate with its characters. It’s a series that has good moments to it, but only those it can look back on with teary eyes. Most of these good moments come from its characters, as they behave well enough to convince a viewer to empathize with their self-conceived sins. Their behavior in the face of love being lost is hard to argue against, though the execution stretches the limits of melodrama more than a few times. The core personalities of each character are also something to look forward to. The way they take shape upon being visited by the ghostly mediator gives a keen sense of progress in reuniting a camaraderie that may not have been as close as previously thought.

For the three people unaware, AnoHana is about a group of six people who used to hang out a lot together as kids, until one of the group members died in an accident. Some years later, the ghost of the sixth member reappears in front of the proclaimed “leader” of the group, who is now a depressed shut-in. Through use of this sudden reappearance, the ghostly member convinces the leader to reunite the gang in an attempt to get his, and all the rest of their lives back on track. The conflicts that arise through this sudden reappearance are what make up the bulk of AnoHana‘s 11-episode run.

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I would like to point out the single-most prominent issue I have with this series: Menma. For those who have read my Tamako Market entry, I discussed that the core problem in that series is that it revolved around an uninteresting and unappealing lead, which served as an obstacle for the growth and/or likability of other characters. This is also the case here for AnoHana, as Menma, the ghostly girl, is a perfect caricature of Jesus Christ. All she has going for her is that she’s cute and bubbly, while also thinking of everyone but herself. Her entire role in the series is to be missed, pitied, and fought over, and it makes the characters around her suit that role to horribly cliché levels. I gave (and still give) zero shits about Menma as a character, as the viewer only sees her as “the one who died,” without any other motivation to see her as her own person. Not to mention, a lot of the conflict in earlier episodes would’ve been resolved if Menma had simply done something other than nothing. It’s shown that she can interact with various objects in the real world, yet she doesn’t take advantage of it to prove her existence to other members of the group. I would’ve liked to see more of her past as opposed to other member’s pasts that directly involved her, because god damn does every character obsess over her a tad too much. Especially Menma’s mother. That scene was really out of place.

The cherry on top, the final nail in the coffin, and whatever other metaphor you can think of, is the final episode. I praise the series for being so internal and calculated with its drama in the beginning, and the very minute extent of genuine angst the characters displayed whenever a problem arose. The final episode kicks this to the curb and ramps up the drama to almost stupid levels. Everyone finally shouts out everything that has ever been wrong and why they feel guilty about Menma’s death. There’s crying and shouting and love interests revealed and everything… everything is such a mess of drama that even I, as someone who will defend Toradora‘s final few episodes, cringed with the amount of melodrama in front of me. All of this because of Menma. All of this because they had to do it all at once. All because the final episode has to be the most dramatic, the most emotionally-charged, the most explosive in emotional energy. Like a volcano erupting. A Death Star exploding. A sick man throwing up. I really need to quit with the metaphors.

It is thanks to this final episode that I realized I never cared up to that point anyway. The final episode is supposed to be the dramatic climax. I get that. But wouldn’t this overflow of tragic and/or happy revelations conceive some sort of emotional response from me, the viewer? It should, but it didn’t. I sat stone-faced as I took in every minute of the final episode. By that time I was realizing what I already knew, and that is the series is mediocre, but not without its more fond atmosphere.

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The animation is what one could expect from a (seemingly) high-budget affair. It’s crisp, it’s fresh, it’s colorful, and it suits each mood beautifully. There are key segments where the animation begins to spatter uncontrollably, trying for a more realistic approach at fast movements. It’s both good and bad, as it makes it more realistic, but also a little goofy from an animation standpoint. This is likely just a nitpick, but I also don’t like that they choose their moments to make the animation more realistic. I understand I’m asking too much from the animators to make every move more realistic and quick, but to save it for moments I, personally, don’t find appealing seems picky. Otherwise, I have no complaints about overall design and animation. It’s a good-looking series.

AnoHana is a goldmine for those who can cry at anything. Those emotionally-tuned will find a lot to like about AnoHana, but as a logical critic, there’s not much for me to munch on. Had the series continued the way it had within the first few episodes, I feel the series would’ve been a little more constructive, and given a little bit more reason for the viewer to care by series’ end. Besides, why listen to me? It’s such a highly-rated anime and beloved by everyone that I clearly hold no jurisdiction in trying to dampen the golden hue this series exudes. It wouldn’t be the first time I disliked a very popular anime. It certainly won’t be the last. But for what it’s worth, AnoHana has semblances of what make the series so beloved. The way it finishes and the way it slides over its plotholes, however, is what makes the series ultimately underwhelming.

Personal Score: C

Critical Score: C

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Entry #3: Koi Kaze (SoA 2016)

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Every once in a while, you come across something different. Such is the case when I, back in 2013, joined a Chatzy chatroom full of anime enthusiasts, and met a man who was enamored with the concept of incest. Even more, the room accepted his appreciation for “little sisters,” and would arouse his interest by playfully mentioning little sisters at completely random points. It is through this chat member that I had received the recommendation of Koi Kaze, and after seeing that another MAL buddy—who rates anime notoriously low—gave this anime an 8 out of 10, I gave in and added it to my Plan to Watch list, where it would sit there for almost three years. Until now.

Allow me to say this before going any further: I am not directly opposed to incest. If a brother and a sister, father and daughter, mother and son, cousin and cousin, or whatever other combination of familial bloodlines want to pursue something that crosses the boundary of typical family interaction, I really don’t give a shit. So long as they know the impact that it will have both through hereditary complications and societal alienation. If the two are happy being with one another and are aware of the hurdles they’ll have to face, I have no objection to it. I do not consider it “wrong” or “gross,” but I acknowledge that it’s not exactly advisable, as I wouldn’t encourage it in most circumstances.

For those of you reading, this hefty and controversial opening will lead you into the impression of Koi Kaze‘s content matter. It is, indeed, about a brother and sister falling in love with one another. That’s basically the entire gist of the story, as there are very few side-stories to speak of; if so, they’re resolved fairly quickly. The point of Koi Kaze is to carefully develop the romantic relationship between brother and sister, and the weight of breaking taboo has on the brother, in particular.

If you thought incest was the only taboo here, you’d be wrong. The synopsis for this anime gives the implication, but for those of you who missed it, the story is about a man named Koshiro, who is 27-years-old, and was just dumped by his girlfriend for being too unemotional. On his way home one day, he sees a high school girl get off the train he was riding on when she drops her I.D. card, so he jumps at the chance to retrieve it for her. Once outside, the wind starts blowing and the cherry blossom pedals start flying across the screen as the two figures stare into each other’s eyes, hinting at a blooming fascination between the two. The girl turns out to be Koshiro’s sister, who is 15-years-old, and will now be living with Koshiro and their father from now on. So not only incest, but a twelve-year age gap. Aye-aye-aye.

koi kaze 2

Controversy aside, watching this series was a bit of a mixed bag. There are segments of this story that I enjoyed, but I feel the characters are the most important aspect of this anime, as it directly revolves around them and their interactions with each other. So, there’s not much really to note about the story besides the events that occur and the pacing of it all. That being said, this anime is very s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w. It builds up the tension to almost extreme levels in most cases. For the first half of the series, I felt a lot of the issues faced between characters were dragged on for too long, but once the siblings began to acknowledge their romantic intentions is when I felt the story became the most engrossing. It’s a steady climb, but I feel by the end that the pacing pays off. I also had no issue with how the emphasis of normal day life played out, and made it seem like time was passing by normally, which Koshiro noted to be “really fast” without realizing it.

With the characters comes the real controversy of the anime. Not the obvious one, but one from a technical standpoint of visual entertainment. Koshiro is an asshole. Not only an asshole, but one without any motivation for anything. Always moping, drowning in his own thoughts, and doesn’t really seem to respond to anything. I understand the guy’s depressed and emotionally constipated most of the time, but holy shit, this guy is really unlikable. It isn’t until the end where it shows through use of flashbacks his family situations, but even then he doesn’t seem any different. It’s like he’s a never-growing child, which he at least acknowledges, and for developmental purposes I can understand, but I can’t help but feel he’s an overall weak character. Although, I feel the constant need to think and act like an adult is one the story highlights well, and only adds to the drama caused by the impending relationship with his sister.

The use of the term “asshole” is how he treats his sister, Nanoka. Throughout the first few episodes, he’s constantly insulting her, discouraging her independence, and treating her like she’s six. It somewhat justifies this by having him feel he needs to act as an adult with the age difference and the guilt he has for falling in love with her by trying to treat her as if she’s beneath his standards, but let up a little, would ya? He goes overboard constantly, and it more often than not only leads to the inevitable scene where he ends up helping her and deepening the bond they have between them. It feels unreasonable.

koi kaze 3

Nanoka herself, I feel, is the best character in this entire anime. I enjoy her personality fine, though it can be bland on its own. What I find so appealing about her is the sort of father-daughter relationship she has with Koshiro, which is strange considering she is interested in him romantically, but it better shows her age and inexperience with the world and with love in general. The one good thing about Koshiro being an asshole is seeing how Nanoka responds to it, which normally incurs confusion and distrust within her. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t know. She’s never been in love and she’s never had a brother, so it’s refreshing to see someone try and learn and question what it means to have a brother, be in love, and a combination of the two. In essence, I love that she thinks, and she thinks a lot, as does Koshiro. It makes for a lot of alone scenes, which flattens out the pacing, but it builds tension, too, which I think the story plays with marvelously. The fact that she feels so strongly for her brother and casts aside any other issue that may (and will) arise because of that love, only further shows her naivety and dependence based on her age and her dependence to Koshiro, who is supposed to be the adult among the two.

Koi Kaze has something I don’t think many anime have: a good ending. With as controversial a subject as this story has, I think the way they ended the anime makes a lot of sense, and only further opens up the discussion for relationships as such. It’s impactful, with just the right amount of sentimentality, both happy and sad, to give the impression that it could end either way. The final few scenes between Nanoka and Koshiro were among my favorites from the entire anime.

While the anime was a nice one to absorb, it wasn’t particularly a pretty one. Animation and overall make-up was really shaky most of the way through. There were scenes that dazzled, but they were as sporadic as my eleven-year-old brother’s interest in school. Overall, the animation is probably the anime’s most noticeable failure, with faces looking distorted from afar, characters’ extremities being either too big or too small, the color palette being bland, and some scenes aren’t even completely colored (see: picture of Nanoka’s school). They may pass it off as “creative integrity,” but I’d call it “strict deadlines.” This anime was made in 2004, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone guessed this was made in the ’90s.

koi kaze 4
Would you give a two-year-old a glass of milk?

Allow me to mention something about the sound quality, too. Wow! Sound?! I noticed something about that?! Yes, well, the voice acting I felt was odd. Voice acting? I have something to say about voice acting? That’s a first. The first few episodes I felt the jobs were really mediocre. Everyone sounded out of it and almost uninterested. I noticed it more with Nanoka’s actor than anyone else, but Koshiro doesn’t exactly have the most believable voice, either. However, as the anime went along, it got better, so I’m inclined to believe it may have been debut jitters or something. There was also a nice emphasis on orchestration to heighten the mood. I think I was numb by the time I started to notice it, so I can’t say it made me feel any more empathetic, but the emphasis is always appreciated.

It’s a controversial title, for good reason. Not everyone’s going to agree with the themes present, but perhaps that’s the point. Koi Kaze, even without the use of taboo, is one I enjoyed… most of the time. The second half in particular, while the first half was confusing and used for build-up more than anything. It has a nice way of showcasing the struggles of dealing with one’s inner desires and coping with not being able to get what you truly want. It’s a series that uses the concept of incest to its advantage to make an enriching experience, rather than exploit it for trends (a la OniAi), and I feel the story is all the better for it. Even if one is against incest, I feel Koi Kaze is worth at least looking into. It doesn’t encourage it, but it doesn’t discourage it, either. It’s a beautiful image of ambiguity that I think reflects well for a story without an answer.

Personal Score: C+

Critical Score: B-

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Deadpool Review

deadpool 1

What happens when you take the already witty writing that the Marvel Universe likes to incorporate and ramp up the ESRB rating to “R”? You get Deadpool, a Marvel movie unique for its offensive, sarcastic, and satirical viewpoint on the standard superhero movie. This premise intrigued me enough to set aside my general dismay for the superhero genre to give this movie a fair shot.

One thing going into this movie that made me hesitate was its sense of humor. Based on the trailers alone, I wondered if the movie would rely too heavily on juvenile comebacks, random remarks, and dick jokes. Thankfully, this was not the case, as Deadpool has just enough of everything to flesh out an altogether humorous, though not entirely hilarious, outcome. A wide variety of references, potty humor, and satirical wit was enough to not turn me off from the movie before it really even started.

The way the story is told is broken up into chunks and scattered. The movie goes back and forth from the past to the present in variously compressed bits. It begins in the present; a lead-up to a fight scene, to the fight scene itself, before a monologue from our bad good guy himself takes us back to his haughty origins. Almost in a Forrest Gump-like fashion, it continues to jump back and forth up until the final half of the movie pushes the plot at hand onward. I, for the most part, like this set-up. It gives a little variety to the storytelling and doesn’t make it seem linear in the long run. I felt they could have perhaps played with it a little more and given it the satirical treatment they were giving the scenes themselves, but alas, they were probably too lazy for that.

deadpool 3

Setting aside the way its presented, the story itself is rather cookie-cutter. It is a plot you will probably be familiar with if you’ve seen any superhero movie, well, ever. The only change here is that instead of a normal life, Deadpool, or Wade, had a rather vile (and somewhat vague) life before he came upon his superpowers. This may not necessarily be a problem if you’ve never seen a superhero movie before… but c’mon. Who hasn’t seen a superhero movie before?

Placed inside Deadpool is a variety of characters, ranging from Hot Chick, Comic Relief, British Villain, and Awesome Guy. I’m not joking. They are seriously credited by those titles. It gives a sense of what the movie is going to be from the very first scene in the movie: obnoxiously silly. It’s a good plan to familiarize the audience with the content as well as setting them up for the unexpected, but for the most part, that’s how the movie rolls on. However, I can’t help but feel this sense of silliness and satirical piece of mind makes the characters (perhaps intentionally) one-dimensional. But at the same time, it also makes the movie appear to be fondling with the very thing it wants to parody. It also left me disappointed with the lack of depth or overall development that the cast received throughout the film. For the most part, it’s a satirical, comedic film, with all of the depth going to the central star. All other characters have a place in the back of the hypothetical short bus. Wade himself is the only character in the movie I felt a genuine connection to by movie’s end.

If not for the overall bland story, I believe my biggest issue with Deadpool is the conflicting moods that plague the movie all throughout. Color me critical, but I feel the movie suffers from shifting back and forth between comedy and drama. There are scenes that are purely comedy and scenes that are purely drama with spices of comedy simmered in. I can understand the thought process of trying to make the character more relatable by putting them through conflict and genuine dire straits, but I feel the movie never fully made up its mind of what it wants to be. Either it’s a movie about satire or it’s a movie about being a hero. I feel it didn’t do well enough to seam the two concepts together to make me care for the outcome. Then again, the predictable plot may have also been a factor, too.

deadpool 4

The action scenes within the movie were very pretty to look at. The deaths were gruesome (a few made me cringe (in a good way)), the combat was over-the-top, and the commentary by Deadpool was simply the icing on the cake. I felt the most enjoyable aspects of the movie were simply Deadpool being Deadpool. More of a nitpick at this point, seeing as its a superhero movie, but some of the logic behind these fight scenes are absurd. I guess it goes along with the satirical nature of the film, but really. These nameless henchmen are making it way too easy for him. I thought the suit looked great and the CGI, while noticeable, wasn’t anything glaring.

I can finish the review by saying that Deadpool as a whole was thoroughly entertaining. It was a film I enjoyed much more than I thought I would for its fun-loving and deliciously sinful writing and sense of humor. I only wish the story itself and everyone aside from the main character was enough to write home about, but I’d end up in tornado-ravaged trailer park if that were the case. For what it’s worth, it’s an easy recommendation for someone looking for something out of the ordinary. Just don’t tell them about the serious bits.

Final Score: 6.5/10

Impressions from Week Twelve of the 2015 NFL Season



Philadelphia at Detroit

  • (Watched, correct)

Mark Sanchez is not a valuable quarterback to have in the NFL. I feel bad for anyone who thinks he’s even worth back-up status. Sure, his defense didn’t help his cause, but even with a good defense last year, he only went 4-4.

Detroit suddenly looks like a complete team again. All they had to do was fire almost everyone in the upper management. Calvin Johnson is also still elite.


Carolina at Dallas

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I did not expect Tony Romo to play as poorly as he did. On the other hand, there wasn’t a lot open for him to play well with. Lots of replays showed every receiver not open… at all. Romo looked alone. And the running game wasn’t very effective either. Now, he’s out again, so Dallas will continue to lose every game until he returns.

At the beginning of this season, I said I didn’t think Cam Newton was a top 10 quarterback. By the halfway point, I still wasn’t ready to put him up there. Now, I’m willing to throw him a bone. I would probably put him on the same tier as Jay Cutler. And if that seems like an insult to you, you probably haven’t seen how well Jay Cutler has played this season. He just doesn’t have as complete a team as Newton does. Nevertheless, they’re now the only undefeated team in the league. If they can stay healthy, they’re favorites to play in the Super Bowl this year.


Chicago at Green Bay

  • (Watched most, incorrect)

I have a confession to make: despite the fact that I said I was “iffy” on this match-up, I was actually about 99% confident Green Bay would win this one. Turns out my almost fluke feeling turned out to be the right call.

Aaron Rodgers has 24 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. However, he only has a 60% completion rate and a 6.9 yard per attempt average. His numbers still look great, but he hasn’t been playing well as of late. Once his offense has to rely on the pass, the team just seems to falter. Whether this is because of bad play calling, a lack of wide receiver experience, or an inconsistent running game has yet to be established, but whatever it is, Green Bay no longer looks like a dangerous playoff threat.

And Chicago could actually vie for a playoff spot.


Buffalo at Kansas City

  • (Watched most of fourth quarter, correct)

Alex Smith might be the best game manager in the NFL. Hasn’t thrown an interception in nearly 300 pass attempts. With his defense playing very well, Kansas City has won 5 games in a row. I’m not entirely confident that he’s capable of leading a team over a defensive juggernaut, but nevertheless, Kansas City is making a push for the postseason.

I feel bad for Buffalo fans. They went 9-7 last year with Kyle Orton and E.J. Manuel starting. Their defense was fantastic. Now with Rex Ryan running the show, their defense has suddenly become inconsistent and flaccid, despite finding what looks to be a good starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. I don’t think they’re gonna go far this season.


St. Louis at Cincinnati

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Jeff Fisher should be fired. Probably the GM, too, for fucking up a golden opportunity of a lifetime with, like, six 1st round picks from the RG3 trade.


New Orleans at Houston

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Remember when Houston was at 2-5 and people were calling out Bill O’Brien as another failure in the “Belichick-coaching tree”? How does he look now after a 4 game winning streak and with a punishing defense?

Remember when New Orleans was 4-4 and on a 3 game winning streak and people were under the assumption that they were good? How do they look now after a 3 game losing streak and with a defense that lets everyone score 100 points on them a week?

I don’t think Sean Payton’s going to survive as head coach after this season.


Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

  • (Did not watch, correct)



San Diego at Jacksonville

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another edition of “Never trust the AFC South.” With the exclusion of the now surging Houston and Indianapolis teams, Jacksonville and Tennessee remain as two of the worst teams in the entirety of the NFL, despite what their records may say (though still not pretty). Last week, San Diego was on the road against a determined Jacksonville team determined to catch up to Houston and Indianapolis in the division. They took this determination and let San Diego walk all over them. San Diego hasn’t walked all over anyone this season.

Same ol’ Jacksonville. Gus Bradley should be fired.


Miami at New York

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I sure do know how to pick an upset, huh?

I drastically underestimated FitzMagic and his sore, red thumb. I also drastically overestimated Miami’s… everything. I was under the impression that Miami would be able to take advantage of New York’s struggling defense. As it turns out, New York actually looked better without Revis. Who would’a thunk it?

Lesson learned: unless Miami’s up against the lowest of the lows, they aren’t doing anything.


Minnesota at Atlanta

  • (Watched, correct)

Let me reiterate: I don’t understand why Atlanta got as many votes to win as it did before this game. Are people really still under the impression that Atlanta is good? Or were they worried about Minnesota’s embarrassing loss to Green Bay? I wasn’t worried about this game at all. I was [probably overly] confident in Minnesota winning this game easily.

Interestingly enough, people are starting to question whether Matt Ryan should remain the starter of Atlanta’s offense; to which I say, “Are you insane? Of course he should.” Matt Ryan isn’t a bad quarterback. Everyone has down years. Some people are pointing fingers at Kyle Shanhan, the offensive coordinator. Looking at his track record, there seems to be a correlation:

His offenses tend to start out well, then eventual befuddle down into the bottom 10 in the league. RG3 had a great rookie season. Then he followed it up with a 2013 campaign that was nothing less than complete shit (though that could also be blamed on rushing in too early from an ACL tear). In 2014, he coached a Brian Hoyer-led Cleveland team to a 7-4 record, then skidded into an offensive mess, lost the next 5 games, and Hoyer even lost his job to both Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw. Now, Hoyer’s enjoying a (now) successful season as Houston’s starting quarterback. Matt Ryan was a Pro Bowl quarterback last season and started 5-0 this year. Now he’d be lucky to even be ranked within the top 10 quarterbacks in the league after dropping 5 of his last 6. Frankly, Ryan’s been inconsistent all year. It’s truly a head-scratcher.

Whatever the case, hopefully for Atlanta they can work out their offensive struggles for next year. They certainly have a shit-ton of potential. Potential that Minnesota is already showing.


New York at Washington

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

New York’s offense kinda sucks, especially their running game. BUT OMG DID YOU SEE ODELL BECKHAM’S AMAZING CATCH?!

Shut up.

It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing wide receiver if the other receivers are dropping balls into the hands of defenders. Or have no running game. Or have no offensive line. Or have no passing defense. New York is just… ugh. They’re almost St. Louis levels of inconsistency.

Kudos to Washington, though. Despite what everyone believed to be a disastrous season for them turned out to be pretty okay, for the time being. They’re first place in the division with a chance to further stomp Dallas into the ground next week. That should be a fun game.


Oakland at Tennessee

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The second round of “Never trust the AFC South” went without a hitch. Oakland won and I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised as to how close it was, but nevertheless, Oakland is far superior to Tennessee.


Arizona at San Francisco

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Man, you just do not mess with San Francisco’s defense at home. It’s a rowdy group.

Unfortunately, this game was subject to poor officiating. It looked as though both teams were getting some bad blows, though the most controversial came from a roughing the passer call on Carson Palmer that… frankly wasn’t roughing the passer whatsoever, which ultimately let them continue their final touchdown drive. Ho-hum. The NFL needs to get its shit together. I feel bad for San Francisco. They could’ve actually upset an 8-2 team with you-know-who as a starting quarterback.


Pittsburgh at Seattle

  • (Watched, incorrect)

There were a few questionable calls in this game, too, like Richard Sherman kinda pushing off to get his first interception of the season. Though, it wasn’t enough to give either team a legitimate chance, as Roethlisberger was massacring the Seattle secondary all game, and Pittsburgh’s secondary can’t cover/tackle for shit. An ugly defensive game by both sides.

Seattle’s offensive line is starting to get something going now. Russell Wilson has only been sacked 6 times in the last 3 games and their running game has ranged from okay to amazing with Thomas Rawls starting. They look like a good team again. That secondary is still a concern, though. Carson Palmer, Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and even Nick fucking Foles have had good games against it.

Pittsburgh has the same problem, except worse. Fix the secondary. It looked like it did in Week One against New England. It was hard to watch.


New England at Denver

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I am 10-2 when picking Sunday Night games. Those 2 losses came when picking against Denver. Maybe I should stop picking against Denver on Sunday Nights.

I will be honest; the end result of this game made me furious.

O-ffic-i-a-ting. Call me a New England-apologist all you want, but I really felt like the refs had it in for New England in this game. Every chance of a “ticky-tack” call was made against New England, while nothing other than incredibly blatant fouls were called against Denver. There’s shit-tons of evidence of bad non-calls all over Twitter, too. And, of course, people were all too happy to see New England get their “comeuppance” for “cheating all of those years.” Those refs may have been those people.

Officiating aside, it was still a good game plan by Gary Kubiak; run the ball at a defense without Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. It worked. Brock Osweiler didn’t make all the throws, but he made the throws when he had to. His defense also helped greatly with providing him many chances to do so… and help from the officials.

Okay, okay. I’ll quit it with the officiating.

At the end of the day, one has to see it like this: New England was defeated under these conditions:

  • Without their two (Pro Bowl-quality) starting linebackers.
  • Without their two starting wide receivers.
  • Without a consistent offensive line.
  • Without their starting running back.
  • Without their starting tight end (fourth quarter onwards).
  • In Overtime.

Denver beating New England can be summed up like a mammoth defeating a tyrannosaurus with its legs chopped off. It’s a sweet victory, but you can’t help but feel like you took advantage of its injuries, so it doesn’t feel as sweet. Oh, and seven zebras ganged up on the tyrannosaurus and beat at its eyes until it was blind.

Okay, okay. I’ll seriously stop.


Baltimore at Cleveland

  • (Watched, incorrect)



  • Week Twelve Pick ‘Em record: 8-8
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 103-73

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Five; 2015)

I’ll try and keep this short and sweet.

[Buffalo @ Tennessee]

Buffalo had a bad day against New York last week. They shouldn’t against Tennessee, though I can’t help but wonder what Tennessee has up their sleeve. Not a guaranteed win, but a likely one.

Winner: Buffalo

[Cleveland @ Baltimore]

Baltimore got by on a putrid performance from the Pittsburgh sideline last week. They’re left without a decent amount of weapons on offense, but their defense is still sturdy enough. Cleveland still looks to be Cleveland: flirting with the concept of superiority against San Diego at home last week. It’ll be close and will also probably be ugly.

Winner: Baltimore

[Chicago @ Kansas City]

I was looking through “NFL Expert” picks to see that no one believes Chicago has a figment of a chance to beat Kansas City. I mean, I get it: Chicago’s a bad team, yeah. But they aren’t bottom of the barrel. These two teams have the same record, after all. I’m almost tempted to pick Chicago here, honestly. In fact, I think I will. Chicago is calling to me like Indianapolis called to me on Thursday. Clearly, that means I have a sixth sense and Chicago will win.

I will probably regret this.

Winner: Chicago

[Seattle @ Cincinnati]

Unless Andy Dalton decides to play around with Richard Sherman, I don’t really see how Seattle has a chance with their known decrease in quality on the road and their paper-thin offensive line. Russell Wilson is unpredictable, sure, but he’s not indestructible. I think Cincy will win this match easily.

Winner: Cincinnati

[St. Louis @ Green Bay]

I have no idea if St. Louis is good or not. I do know, however, that Green Bay is really, really good.

Winner: Green Bay

[Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay]

I honestly have no idea who to pick here. Both of these teams are really bad. Both quarterbacks have shown that they’re, uh, not Aaron Rodgers. Jacksonville’s only win came against Miami. Tampa Bay’s only win came against New Orleans. Jacksonville was at home. Tampa Bay was on the road. They both have sporadically good weapons. Both have sporadically good defenses. Picking this game is a lot like flipping a fuckin’ coin. Tampa Bay has home-field advantage. That’s a plus for them. Jacksonville’s offense put up 13 points against Indianapolis’s defense last week. Indianapolis. Mrmm.

I should choose Tampa Bay. But I’m going to choose Jacksonville. Hopefully I chose the right side of the coin.

Winner: Jacksonville

[New Orleans @ Philadelphia]

Another game that should probably be ugly. Philadelphia’s defense is good, but Drew Brees found his groove last week against Dallas. Although, New Orleans is on the road, and like Seattle, they shrivel outside of their home environment. It should be a close game, for sure. I’m going with Chip Kelly’s racist noggin in this game.

Winner: Philadelphia

[Washington @ Atlanta]

Well, Washington certainly isn’t Houston. However, I feel the results will be the same. Hopefully for Washington it won’t be 42-0 by the end of the third quarter.

I think Leonard Hankerson will have a big day against his former team.

Winner: Atlanta

[Arizona @ Detroit]

Arizona lost to St. Louis last week at home. While that’s certainly worrisome, I don’t think it should carry over to Detroit, even if they’re on the road this week. I’m most excited to see how Patrick Peterson will play against Calvin Johnson. Probably well, since Detroit’s offensive line won’t give Stafford enough time to throw it to him deep. That or Stafford will just be inaccurate deep, as he’s getting too used to dumping the ball off to Theo Riddick.

This type of offense is good for a quarterback like Drew Brees. Not Stafford.

Winner: Arizona

[New England @ Dallas]

I’d be willing to bet my house that New England will outscore Dallas by at least four touchdowns.

Winner: New England

[Denver @ Oakland]

A fascinating match-up. Oakland has already beaten Baltimore at home this year. Denver’s a little different of a story than Baltimore. Oakland’s offense struggled against Chicago on the road last week. Denver’s defense is about 120 times better than Chicago’s, so it’ll be fun to see what Oakland can do against the Orange Crush.

Peyton Manning shouldn’t have to worry much about Oakland’s defense.

Winner: Denver

[San Francisco @ New York (Giants)]

San Francisco’s defense put up an admirable fight against Green Bay last week. However, their defense has given up a combined 90 points in two road games this season against Arizona and Pittsburgh. While New York’s offense isn’t as savvy as the previous two teams’, I think Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle (Wow) should be enough to keep New York in the game. After all, San Francisco’s offense has put up a measly 10 points in the last 8 quarters of play against Green Bay and Arizona.

Since trampling Minnesota, San Francisco’s quality has been dulling considerably.

Winner: New York

[Pittsburgh @ San Diego]

Y’know, Pittsburgh’s defense is pretty decent. And last week against Baltimore, their offense, even with Mike Vick, played alright. What worries me is what they’ll try to do when facing a difficult decision. Mike Tomlin has shown to be a little brain-dead when following his gut. And as much as San Diego’s shown a slight decline in quality, I think Pittsburgh’s offense isn’t good enough to really make a splash in this game, especially on the road. I’m thinking defense will keep Pittsburgh in this game, but San Diego’s offense will seal the deal.

Winner: San Diego