The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi Episode 4

Review:

And dropped.

Maybe once this whole thing is done and you watched the whole thing, it wouldn’t feel as tedious and pointless (it probably will) but this show isn’t particularly funny and it doesn’t really give you any insight into the character so there really isn’t anything left to watch this show for. While the dialogue between the two characters about relationships and whether official was better or not may have been amusing as part of another anime, as a stand-alone it just isn’t worth coming back to watch.

The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi is available on Crunchyroll.

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Friday’s Feature – On Magical Girls (3/3)

Let’s wrap up this mini-series of posts (though I am definitely going to revisit the subject matter at some point because really nowhere near enough has been said). This week I want to look at exceptions within the magical girl genre and discuss the lack of an equivalent magical boy genre.

While there are a few modern exceptions, I actually want to look at a more classic ‘magical girl’ that kind of does things her own way, and that’s Sakura from Card Captor. And already I hear people saying she defines magical girl, what do you mean she’s an exception?

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True, she becomes a Card Captor after Kero recruits her to recapture the cards she let loose and it was more or less her destiny to release the cards in the first place and she fights an array of silly villains while wearing fairly ridiculous outfits using a magical wand to summon cards to fight for her, so it all seems fairly normal for the magical girl genre. However, there are a few distinctions.

Firstly, while her friends are most definitely dragged into the magical encounters Sakura has after becoming a Card Captor, with the exception of Syaoran Li, most of her friends do not have any power and don’t end up joining her back-up group. In fact, Sakura pretty much fights solo for most of the series, occasionally assisted/hindered by Li and offered moral support by her best friend Tomoyo. Furthermore, Tomoyo doesn’t end up being the victim of the week every other episode, unlike Molly (the magic free friend of Sailor Moon).

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Secondly, Sakura doesn’t transform into a magical girl. She always has her magic powers whether she’s in her school uniform or one of Tomoyo’s creations. Every single ridiculous outfit Sakura ends up in she changes into willingly (or at least because her best friend is trying to help in her own way and Sakura doesn’t want to hurt her feelings). So no magical girl outfit (and this right here could throw Card Captor’s right out of the genre entirely given how important transformation sequences are in other shows).

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Thirdly, Sakura defeats the escaped cards and then uses them to fight and capture other cards. These villains have no grand plan to take over the world. They’re magic cards that have escaped and are running wild. Mostly they aren’t working together or plotting anything. So no gloating villain sneering about how they will beat them next time. Instead, this is a fetch quest that got out of hand but serves as the background for Sakura’s growth as a human (even as her increased stash of cards makes her stronger).

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The last point I want to make is that Syaoran is both a rival and a love interest. He battles with Sakura to be the Card Captor, though eventually is forced to bow out of the fight which is when he takes on a far more traditional role. This is a refreshing role for a male character in a magical girl genre because he has his own strengths and agenda outside of saving the girl so she can save the world.

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I’d love to know your favourite exception in the magical girl genre so please share below.

Onto the lack of an equivalent magical boys genre. While there are definitely anime boys out there with magic (think Fairy Tail etc) these aren’t magical boy anime. Generally they are actions or dramas. They are fast paced and usually full of a large number of characters who the protagonists can fight with and support.

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Of course, if magical boys was a thing you would have to wonder who the audience would be? As Cute High Earth Defence shows, just putting boys in silly outfits and making them go through the motions of a magical girl anime isn’t exactly compelling viewing, and even if they played it straight it would be hard to take it seriously.

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As stated in part 2, a large part of the magical girl genre is about imparting messages about qualities that the audience should admire and work toward. These messages are already presented by male characters in shonen anime and a range of other avenues. One could almost argue that the magical girl genre exists only to fill the void that existed for strong female characters who fight villains. They used magic as a way to overcome the traditional stereotype of weaker female and then gave the protagonists admirable personality traits (even if these only developed throughout the series).

So do magical girl series still have a place for modern audiences when there are now plenty of other shows and media that present stronger females?

Definitely. This is a genre that filled a gap but also carved out its own niche and will continue to develop and grow with the modern audience. The success of shows like Madoka Magica clearly show that there is still a large market for the magical girl, even if she has evolved a bit from the shiny and sparkly days when all she had to do was spin around occasionally and wave a wand.

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That concludes this run of magical girl posts and I know I’ve barely touched the surface. Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions below.

Orange Episode 4

Review:

I just have to say it: Naho is an idiot.

Other than that, I’m actually still really enjoying this show. It’s slow but the characters are refreshing and while it’s just one bit of teen drama after another (with a darker future for one of the teens thrown in our face at least once an episode) they aren’t being melodramatic. I’m kind of enjoying the steady pace and the relationships that are being revealed and developed.

Still, Naho is an idiot. She’s indecisive to the point of being painful and Kakeru couldn’t have been more obvious in this episode as she’s still clueless. What Kakeru finds interesting about her is a complete and utter mystery.

Orange is available on Crunchyroll.

Tales of Zestiria the X Episode 3

Review:

Unlike almost every other series this week, Tales of Zestiria actually hit the accelerator on the plot. It’s like we finally made it through all the introductions and world building (not that we’ve met every character or anything) and now they can finally get the story moving. I’m still not sold on the visuals of this story and the weird game thing where the characters kind of talk right at us is a little off putting mid-episode, but amusing after the credits (and yes, I know why they are doing it but it’s still off-putting). All and all though, I really enjoyed this week’s episode (there was a dragon made of light flying around, that is all kinds of awesome). Alisha has finally started growing on me as a character and Sorey is just likeable as a protagonist so hopefully this show continues to develop from here.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available from AnimeLab.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 4

Review:

It may just have been me, but I felt all the characters were excessively chatty this episode. So many new bits of information dumped very quickly in fairly awkward lines of conversation, to the point where we jumped into a battle mid-way along and really don’t know where they are fighting or why because nobody bothered to tell us that. I’m thinking this is probably necessary when we’ve only got 13 episodes, but that doesn’t make for great story telling. Don’t get me wrong, this was still good fun and there are so many looming catastrophes you just kind of feel like you’re waiting to see which one manages to hit them first, or whether they’ll all strike at once.

My main complaint would be the Millenium Earl. In the original series he was an amazing villain. Yeah, he laughed and did all the cliché villain things but there was a sense of genuine malice about him. Unlike most villains, I really believed he intended to destroy the world. New Millenium Earl is just kind of meh. It took a lot of thunder away from the episode.

Meanwhile, Allan is definitely having some identity issues and Kanda seems to be the next character to finally get some sort of details added into his back story. Given everyone else, I’m thinking this is going to be tragic.

Looking forward to whatever new tragic past and future disaster this show will bring us next week.

D Gray Man Hallow is available on AnimeLab.

 

Days Episode 4

Review:

I’m fully committed to this show now. I love Tsukamoto as a character. Yeah, he is incredibly lame and overly earnest and all of those other things but somehow he is carrying it off well and making me really want to see him succeed. The other members of the soccer club are also interesting and the introduction to the girls in his class this episode was entertaining.

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This episode is full of clichés and the ending is predictable but it is a very nice ride to get there. I also like that Kazama is still present in this episode but has definitely taken a back seat. Tsukamoto isn’t being endlessly protected by his presence anymore but they haven’t just made him disappear from the story.

Days is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Episode 4

Review:

I spent a great deal of this episode hating it and wishing it would end. I don’t like Aldini as a character and the new guy that’s come along is scum. Then I realised, that somehow this episode actually made me feel sorry for Aldini and respect him for trying to overcome in the kitchen and that the episode definitely elicited an emotional response. I’m still not sold on this tournament where we just go from cook off to cook off with very little characterisation in-between but I am actually looking forward to Soma’s next match and I’m glad that he’s maintaining his calm.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.