Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Animezing Blog Is Back! For Today! + Anime I've Been Watching

I'll admit it, I suck.  Updating a blog, unlike a few years ago, is almost a tedious task for me given my current job and schedule.  I was honestly planning an audio blog type thing for here and as usual plans fell through.  I have the equipment, just not the time.  I am not going to promise anything.  No regular schedule, no promises of another entry, nothing like that.  I'll update when I can.  I hope it is more frequent than...*looks at previous entry*...about once a year, so here's to that!

The past year has been a tough one on me as far as anime is concerned.  Honestly, I'm wondering if I am slowly losing interest in the hobby.  Don't get me wrong, I love what I've seen and still think some series can rival that of American television, but my intake has slowed down significantly.  This has been partly due to, again, my busy schedule, where I barely have time for regular television let alone extra things like anime.  Last year was probably my slowest year as far as watching and obtaining new titles, though if the start of this year is any indication, I'm on a rebound.  The con circuit has also been a bit tiresome.  I still enjoy my conventions, just not the way I used to.  Also, due to some schedule changes, I may be going to fewer this year, but we'll see.  The plan right now is Visioncon in late February, which isn't a full on anime con, but has a neato anime department that I'll actually be helping out with this year, possibly Naka-kon (best con I went to last year), and if things work out, ACEN. 

One thing that has helped is a local anime club that started in my area this past fall.  I'll have to post about it later.

Rats. There I go promising future post things again.

So that has been 2013 in review.  One thing that happened was that I got a year subscription to both Crunchyroll and Funimation Elite.  I'll talk more about Funimation Elite down the road (Another future post allusion.  CRAP!), but I have been watching quite a bit on Crunchyroll.  Some may have noticed that I usually prefer dubbed to subbed anime.  This is mainly because of my lack of wanting to read actual text while watching moving pictures, but also I can multitask when I hear English explain things for me.  The transition to subbed anime hasn't been perfect, but I can handle it for what Crunchyroll offers, which is plenty of simulcasts of current series in Japan.  I've actually been impressed with the service and have been following what series I can and catching up with others.  Here is a short list of what I have been watching:

Golden Time

Am I being creepy enough yet?

As I'm about to mention in another preview, I don't like to watch series based on who wrote or direct it.  Just because the person that wrote Sgt. Frog wrote another series does not mean the next one will be as good or better.  Each series stands on its own legs.  That being said, the writer that brought us Toradora has given us Golden Time.  This is a romantic comedy drama mix that is about two people in love.  The girl is a crazy stalker and the boy lost his memory and used to love another girl that goes to the same college.  Yeah, yay, love triangles and all that garbage.  The series has actually gotten to the point where I don't root for any of the characters (except 2D Kun) or particular couples (Other than rooting against Linda...she is too socially idiotic and that's coming from ME).  It is just interesting seeing them interact with one another.  It isn't the best series I've seen, not even the best in the past couple of years, but I still set time to catch each episode as it comes out.  So for whatever reason, this series has me hooked.  If I had to guess why, it would be because of the characters and development of their personalities probably.  Definitely worth a check out!

Attack on Titan

I think this is the best representative pic of the series
Yes, the series people will not shut up about.  Honestly, I have not watched the whole series yet, only the first half...and the recap episode.  I will say this, I get why the series is as popular as it is, and I can see why it is so hyped.  The story is impressive, but I think my expectation for it was too high.  You see, the bad thing about hyping the series is when people like me get around to watching it, they leave a little disappointed.  It honestly feels more like a flavor of the season kind of show and the popularity for it will wane just like it has for series before it, like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Spice and Wolf.  I could be wrong and it may be the next big series like Fullmetal Alchemist or One Piece, but I weirdly doubt that.  As for my current opinion of the series, I like it, I just don't love it.  It is merely fine.  I LOVE the first opening like any breathing entity should, I really liked the art style with the black outlines for characters, but the story and atmosphere just hasn't done it for me.  This is another series where I don't like most of the characters, but that's fine.  I prefer the mythology of the Titans, but the series focuses more on humanity trying to survive and the douchebags soldiers that defend them  I call the series a mix of Spiderman, Fullmetal Alchemist, and zombie apocalypse.  I'll eventually get to the second half, just not right now.

 Non Non Biyori

Definitely not a mascot character
Where do I begin?  Ok, maybe I have no right to judge this series just yet since I've only seen one episode, but I just don't get it.  I'll try my best to give it the benefit of the doubt but so far it is one of the worst series I've seen the past couple of years.  Not to paint with a broad brush, but the series is balls-tastically boring.  I spent most of the episode watching the timer, wondering when it would end.  The series focuses on four girls that live in the sparsely populated country, to the point where they and a nondescript male are the only ones at the local school.  They are all in different grades, they walk through the country, quiet happens....and....they talk.  Honestly, this series so far seems like the supermodel of anime.  It looks shiny and pretty, but it lacks substance.  The episode was sprinkled with forgettable jokes, and layered with quiet contemplation.  I get that maybe they are trying to convey a quiet countryside, but I live in the middle of nowhere.  It is boring here.  It was boring watching this.  I'll try it again when I recover from my experience, but it isn't looking good at all.

Engaged to the Unidentified

Hey, I was wondering if you have directions to the emo convention?
So far I have enjoyed this series.  Much like Golden Time, it isn't spectacular in any stretch of the imagination, but at least it tries to be entertaining, and it actually is at times.  The series follows a girl who just turns 16, and the same day a boy and his sister move into her house, the former being picked as her future husband by her deceased grandfather.  He basically has no presence.  I don't mean that in a "he is a ghoooooost" kind of way, but in a "wow, I totally forgot he was there" kind of way.  He sits in the background, no one notices him, not even his fiance, and the few moments he does do something, it is hilariously awkward.  His sister clearly steals the show by being the bratty "I will not let my big brother marry this wench!" stereotype.  It has all be done before, but that isn't a bad thing.  The first episode got my attention, and now I await more.  Hilarious, cute, and slice of life in parts which for me is pretty much a slam dunk.

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time 

This isn't even my final form!
Evidently there is a trend in anime to have shorter series.  Instead of the traditional half hour series, more are adapting a more Hetalia-like approach and offering episodes of less than 10 minutes of length.  While I'm not fond of the trend, if there was going to be an argument for this, Tonari no Seki-kun would be a good argument for it.  The series is simple.  It is about Seki, a boy that likes to waste time during class lectures with odd hobbies and his foil, Yokoi.  She seems to be the only one that notices that he is not paying attention and ends up distracting her with his exploits.  The first two episodes have been good, with one about falling dominoes and the other about Shogi turning into a samurai period piece.  The series so far has a defined pattern.  Seki starts with a regular object or hobby, it goes out of proportion, Yokoi notices and either gets in trouble from the teacher or gets sucked in to Seki's nonsense.  The series doesn't seem like it will go much beyond that, but it is the simplicity of the set up that I enjoy.  You know where it will end up, you just end up enjoying the journey more.  This probably wouldn't work as a full fledged series as three of these in a row would be tiresome, so the 7 minute episodes are actually perfect for what it offers.  I look forward to more in the weeks to come.

Hozuki no Reitetsu

He isn't staring at an aquarium.  Trust me on this.
This has been the surprise of the season so far.  The series is essentially about a demon supervisor that works in Japanese hell.  You see, there are different kinds of hell, some specific to Europe, some to animal torturers, and some for perverts.  Hozuki, the supervisor, is a dead-pan, unimpressed, unable to have his jimmies rustled kind of demon, and he has to put up with all the characters in hell, including the King Enma who seems like a demonic King Dedede.  The series is probably not for newbies to anime or Japanese culture, but it still manages to get laughs out, if you are in to the deadpan kind of humor.  The first half of the first episode involves Peach boy and his animal companions.  Do you not know who Peach boy is?  Well, the humor may be lost on you some.  Did you know that Ayer's rock is referred to as the bellybutton of the Earth?  That is how demons describe it.  Hozuki may end up being one of the toughest characters to come out in a while.  Satan, the European hell leader give Japanese hell a visit, planning on overruling it when he gets a chance, is completely scared witless by Hozuki just because of his collected nature and the fact that he mispelled Santa as Satan in his recipe.  Satan runs away yelling for God to save him.  That is the kind of power Hozuki has.  He made Satan himself screaming for God's help.  That alone makes this series worth watching for a while.

The emo convention is right here!

That is it for now.  I'm also hoping to catch Watamote and see if I can stand that series or not.  It is next on my list.

So that has been the past couple of months for me.  It feels great to be back in to the hobby like this again.  I hope there will be more to report on in the near future.  As for now, this is my lot, and I'm fine with that.  What recent series have you been watching?

There, I think that oughta do it for the year.

The Allengator