Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mysterious Girlfriend X

So, I've been watching anime a little more often as of late. By and large I'm very disillusioned with the state of anime at the moment, it seems like everything that comes out is either extremely derivative or a way to sell merchandise through fanservice. Every season has it's stand-outs though, they're often marked by unique stories or experimental art styles. Mysterious Girlfriend X has a story that seems like it could've been ripped out of a thousand different erotic games, visual novels, comics or any of that kind of thing. The art style is very heavily reminiscent of most of the anime produced in the late '80s or early '90s, to be more specific it looks a lot like  Rumiko Takahashi's art. The music is surprisingly diverse and wholly excellent but that's usually not the kind of thing an anime can sell itself on, and it's only part of what has me enraptured with this show. Competent animation, a very nostalgic art style, a story so stupid I only watched the first episode to laugh at it and top notch music somehow blend into a show I find myself dying to see more of. To be clear, I've only seen the first episode so far, and only three episodes have aired so far, but I'm hooked. The little shout-outs to Big O may have the slightest bit to do with that.
Ultra generic '80s/'90s style! Woo!

Somehow not seeing her eyes really does a lot for her character.

Big O!

Blackjack Cat?
Edit: Something I had meant to mention earlier that's coming to light even more in the second episode is how painfully awkward this show can be at times. I feel pangs of shame for praising it so highly when it starts in with gratuitous panty shots, super power scissor fighting and the extremely meek main character. I really don't think I'd be able to continue if the art, animation and soundtrack were so well done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Alright, so this is a rare thing for me. I watched anime. Not an older series like I tend to lean towards, but something very recent. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a magical girl anime, but it's a decidedly darker take on the genre. What really caught my attention with this series was the art. Most of the time the art is kind of run of the mill, except for the shading in characters eyes, but when a witch encounter is coming up the art takes a turn for the awesome. Witches are kind of the driving force behind the series, I don't think they really fit the role of antagonist, they're just a narrative tool for moving things forward. Anyways, when one is on-screen the art becomes very abstract and strange, if it weren't for the interesting twist in the art style I probably wouldn't have watched past the first episode. 
The music... I don't feel I can really comment on the music as well as I'd like to. I watched the series about a week ago and none of the music struck me as anything but kind of standard. The opening song is pretty memorable, the ending song honestly probably set the tone a lot better though. I suppose that works pretty well with the show as a whole, up front lots of typical mahou shoujo veneer but once you get a bit further in it's much less happy go lucky and more about suffering.

I'm pretty torn about this show. I'm big on the use of concepts borrowed Buddhism but taking a genre show, subverting most of it's tropes and then mixing in religion is something I'm all too familiar with. Neon Genesis Evangelion made it really popular with mecha anime for a few years but it's been kind of a while since it's been done, and as far as I'm aware it's the first time someone's done it with a magical girl show. I suppose overall it's a compliment just how often this series gets compared to Evangelion, and I do happen to love show's where the central theme is suffering (much like in Koi Kaze). I'm glad I watched it, but I can't agree with the massive amount of praise this show garnered. If anything that's probably a new generation of anime fans getting a taste for this darker kind of series, I'd bet fans of whatever series did it before Evangelion felt much the same way when it started taking off.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Worth a watch, nothing revolutionary, but easily among the better stuff released in the past couple of years.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Penis And Everyone Else's[2007]

The follow-up to "My Penis And I", "My Penis And Everyone Else's" is less about Lawrence dealing with his penis and more about him delving into how other people perceive their penises, or just penises in general. Towards the end there is literally a gallery of penises and you won't believe how much our penile documentarian will smile at the sight of other people's dicks. It's undeniably one of the gayest things I've ever seen. I wouldn't be the least surprised to see another entry in this series a few years down the line titled something along the lines of "My Penis And Your Penis: Can We Touch Them Together? Can We Dock Them?".

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Penis and I

I've got a soft spot for documentaries about sexual insecurity, and there are quite a few out there. None shine quite as bright as Laurence Barraclough's "My Penis and I" and it's follow-up "My Penis and Everyone Else's". Lots of golden moments in the first installment, such as Laurence talking to his parents about his small penis, having a medical professional stretch his penis to measure it, an unpleasant experience with an electronic penis pump and getting a plaster cast of his flaccid penis.