Wrap Up: December 2017

I don’t know why I keep calling these posts as “top” moments, since the goal is to compile them later into a top 100 anime moment, but I’m not actually ranking them now. I’m actually still struggling with the title, but these are the “best” moments from the anime I saw the past month. Spoilers of course.

Evangelion – Ambivalence

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The best episode of Evangelion for me is Episode 18, where the fourth Eva pilot did a test run in his spanking new mecha. Except nope, his robot is actually an Angel and Shinji must now destroy it. Of course, Mr. Depressing doesn’t want to attack a robot with a human in it. That’s just wrong, and I agree with Shinji. Get Katsuragi to find a way to eject the pilot out of the robot first, and then let Asuka chop it to bits or something.

Shinji’s dad, and a guy who apparently took his wife’s last name (I’m guessing for political reasons), said “oh hell no, we’ll blow that sh*t up now!!!” The fourteen year old being forced to kill a fellow Eva pilot, and we all know there are only two people in the world that understands how hard this decision is, doesn’t want to do it. Shinji’s dad doesn’t like people not following his orders though, and without any hesitations, he ordered the dummy pilot to take over. Shinji’s robot is now on autopilot following a basic command, and the dummy pilot did more than “kill” the Angel. It was f*cking overkill, and Shinji had no choice but to watch the gruesome dismemberment happening in front of him.

This episode is beautiful. It starts out normal enough, and then escalates to a level the anime never reaches again. I mean, this was a visual assault akin to the mental or psychological assault that’ll happen down the line. This moment is just in a league of its own, and it’s made better because of the characters involved. We see all of them shine here. Gendo’s lack of any basic human decency, Shinji’s fragile character and even Katsuragi’s motherly side that dominates her personality towards the psychological assault of the later episodes. But more importantly, the animation is beautiful. The robot fights in Eva are always awesome, but seeing Unit 01 go batsh*t crazy in a wonderful rural backdrop just had me smiling ear to ear. After the slaughter ends, we see the carnage scattered everywhere as Shinji’s amazing voice acting drowns out the stunning scene. It’s every element of the anime working to give us one unforgettable scene. It’s the best one in the anime, in my opinion.

Evangelion – Congratulations

Yes, one of the best moments in the show is the ending. Not just the big uplifting congratulation scene but everything building up to it. The Human Instrumentality Project commences, as we see the different characters put on the spotlight, and then something weird happens. The anime goes full abstract on us discussing freedom and control, how we perceive the world and each other, and how subjectivity clutters your view of the world.

As the anime becomes something hard to grasp, the animation soon follows devolving into literal storyboards of the show, with the characters just talking over it.

It then goes abstract even harder when real photographs are inserted, and the anime just goes full batsh*t crazy on us. It’s an ending that’ll impact anyone that watches it. That’s why I was strongly avoiding this anime for such a long time. I knew the ending would be ruined to me. You really don’t know what to think while you’re seeing it happen, and then you just sit for a few minutes wondering “why” the anime ended like that. As I ponder though, I couldn’t help but smile. I love anime that challenges me, good or bad. When I watch an awful show with a twenty four episode length, a part of me smiles because (I’m a masochist) the show feels like a challenge to me. I approach it in a different way, and I discover new things out of it. This is even more fruitful when the challenge is a good anime, like this one. I want more. I heard this inspired a lot of weird anime like Serial Experiment Lain, Boogiepop Phantom and a lot more of Chiaki J. Kon anime. I wanna try them next! And to think, this anime started it. I worship you, O’ God Status anime.

Donten ni Warau – The Double Twist

The twist itself is memorable, but the execution is really abysmal. Just keep that in mind, because this anime sucks. It doesn’t really like doing any long exposition to make the following moments powerful, so you often just watch the show half-interested. Oh, the bad guy is the ninja guy that belongs to an evil clan, Ok. Oh, the brother that was executed is actually alive. Cool. Oh, the vessel is actually the emo brother. Fine. Sure. Whatever. Why isn’t anyone taking their shirts off?

So yeah, the reveal that the housemaid (for lack of a better term) is the bad guy, and the little swerve about the brother being alive are really good moments. Of course, it could’ve been better. If we focused more on the ninja’s past, his struggle to leave his past behind, his devotion to his clan, and just flesh him out more as a person, then the moment would’ve been grander. He was so in-love with the brothers yet it was always suspicious, so his eventual heel turn wasn’t really as shocking as it could’ve been. Cool moment though.

Same goes for the dead brother. He had an entire episode focused on his goodbyes before being hanged, so the fact that he was still alive should’ve meant a lot more. I dunno. I kept going “wait, why?” and the show just keeps dropping random exposition about an experiment done to him, and it was done on another guy as well. Maybe if we fleshed out that government conspiracy, maybe give more burden to the other brothers trying to cope his death and maybe not rushing his surprise reveal would’ve made the moment more impactful. It’s sloppy things like this that makes this anime so aggravating to watch, but then you realize you just don’t care for it. Seriously though, not a lot of handsome dudes took their shirts off in this anime. Minus Five Stars!!!!

GirlFriend (Beta) – Chloe Lemaire

I wanted to put the meme here as the best moment of the anime, but Chloe’s meme is spread all throughout. They aren’t really moments that makes the show especial, but thankfully she did still have a great moment in the anime. In the eleventh episode, Chloe introduces the characters to her dad. In a genius troll move, he also sports the retarded French accent but his deep male voice had my sides splitting. It’s such a funny moment, made even better by the characters reacting to her father talk.

Yup, that’d be my reaction too. Chloe is really the best, and only memorable, part of the anime. I find the show boring, but I really have a soft spot for it. The same characters, minus the blonde, appearing with Chloe in the New Years’ episode ender is also a really wonderful moment, but it’s something that’d only make sense if you know the meme. You can’t really pick a strong moment in this anime without mentioning the meme, and you can even make a case for the anime being born because of the meme. I would love to see more anime born out of weird phenomenon like this. The novelty themselves really make it standout. I think Free is also a good example, since the anime is greenlit after the massive fan reception, but I always believed KyoAni was intending on an anime and they just wanted to show off first. I’m just a cynic though with a clear bias. Something organic like the Chloe Lemaire meme is a very rare occurrence though, and I welcome more of it.

Looking Back

Sakura Trick – The loaded fanservice

I think every episode of the anime featured the main characters locking lips, and their naughty exploits gets daring as the show progresses. They keep their lesby journey a secret, but they are frisky individuals. The kisses they perform starts in empty rooms, but soon moves to crowded places, with the other students being none the wiser. I like it, because dirty little secrets like this can be a weird turn on. The thrill that “nobody knows” has this appealing factor, at least for me. Ok, this is getting weird.

I do believe the anime overdid it though. The kisses got boring at some point, because I still believe that moments like this deserve more body. It needs some emotional factor, or a story, in basic terms. I wanted a reason for them to keep locking lips, since the experimental lesby journey of the characters can get tiring. But then again, I do believe this anime is also satisfying the pent up frustrations of Shoujo Ai fans that never see the characters seal the deal in other shows. A lot of Shoujo Ai anime tiptoe around even the most innocent kisses, and Sakura Trick is there to give you a ton of fanservice.

I saw this anime a long time ago, but I don’t need to re-visit it to know which moments stood out for me. Some of my favorite kissing scenes are when the characters got daring. There’s one scene where one of the girl draped a cloth over the other girl, and they were kissing under it while the room is crowded with other people. No one seems to notice them though, and that’s pretty cool.

Another favorite of mine is when one of the girls is stuck in the gym storage room, or something. The other girl grabs a ladder and meets her lesby partner by the window. With other girls below the ladder, the two girls kissed right then and there.

And lastly, my favorite kissing scene is at the end of the cultural festival episode. The students gather to rock out to a band playing on stage, but the main couple is in the balcony. Cloaked in darkness, one of the girls pin the other and they kissed all throughout the rock performance. I GIF’ed these moments, because I really enjoyed them. I think I also wanted to point out the anime had a lot of kissing scenes, and it did go a bit overboard. For its sheer dumb fun, experimental experience between the characters, and their youthful energy finding a unique outlet, I’d consider this one of the best moments of 2014.

Sakura Trick – Shizuku and Kotone

The second couple, Shizuku and Kotone, had everything that the main couple lacked. The emotional factor that makes yuri fun is roaring wild in the second couple. I believe they are cousins, or something, but Shizuku is living with Kotone. Shizuku is a wonderful character that constantly doubts herself, and Kotone is this wonderful lesbian character that caters to her lovers’ needs. To me, the second pairing is really complex, and (coming from a guy that only knows shallow lesby stuff) they actually capture a more organic lesbian relationship. It’s mature, respectful, but also a little bit daring, since we still are reading a four panel yuri manga. I love the restraint of these characters. When the main couple would kiss and experiment, the second couple would react to their emotions. Shizuku feels troubled that Kotone is just acting on a whim, while Kotone is concerned that her time with Shizuku is fleeting.

Their first kiss is done after a good hashing out, and it’s that kind of emotional weight that I really would like to see in the first couple. If we’re talking about moments though, then the pool episode stands out. Kotone’s sister wants her to come home, Shizuku shrinks after the little sister’s constant belittling, and then she stands up for herself by accepting Shinobu’s challenge. It’s a swimming contest to decide who Kotone will stay with. Of course, Shizuku won and it is a strong display of how good yuri can be even without the girls actually locking lips.

Of course, their snowy moment is also something I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s more of a wonderfully developed subtext scene than anything else. Basically, Kotone has a fiancé and she’ll soon move back to her family. She obviously loves Shizuku though, but the snowy scenery depicts this very depressing vibe and a lingering “what if” in the air that really makes the moment stand out. The two share a reassuring kiss wherein Kotone mentions that even if not today, she promises to be with Shizuku in the far future. Their reassuring smile breaks the depressing mood, and a light hearted closure is achieved. Of course, subtext is deep. Their love is deep, and this moment is so carefully crafted that it stands out solely through its sheer emotional power.

Selector Infected WIXOSS – The Mami Flavored Twist

This anime is like a spiritual successor of Madoka Magica, but in a sense that the dark gritty element of the God Status anime is developed further. And ever since the first episode, you kinda had a good idea where the anime is headed. Someone will lose their heads, and it’ll be a big turning point for the show. In WIXOSS, girls play a card game with their LRIGs, which are like super powered cards. It was established early on that you can get any wish granted if you win the whole game, but something also happens when you lose three times. Someone will lose their heads in a horrific manner that’ll scar viewers forever.

Oh, no, wrong show. The loser just gets their memory wiped, but their wish is also turned into a curse. Enter Hitoe who really wanted to have friends, and it was her sole wish. She befriend the main characters, but the head count is obvious. Someone will go Mami on us, and Hitoe seems to be the obvious choice. Soon enough, the toughest player in the game took her out and her wish turns into a curse. She feels pain whenever someone gets close to her, especially if it’s a friend. And so innocent little Hitoe can no longer make any friends since she gambled her life away with the game. It’s not as f*cked up as a magical girl suddenly getting her head eaten. Although some has pointed out that the monster actually ate the jewel containing Mami’s life force that she kept in her hair, and they ponder if a headless Mami would be possible if she kept it as a necklace. Dear gawd, people, you analyzed Madoka too much.

While Hitoe’s wish that turned into a curse lacks the punch, since it was a twist you can see miles away, the implications are still scary. You chase for that one thing you think will complete your life. Reality bites back though, and you realize you’ve been chasing after something that ends up hurting you more in the end. It’s the needed twist to make the show exciting, and I do think it’s a wonderful moment by itself. Of course, comparing it to a headless magical girl is unavoidable though, but I think it adds to the appeal. This show is basically telling us that we can do more f*cked up things to innocent girls, and to our viewers, by simply keeping that twist alive and exciting. In a weird sense, Mami lives on forever.

13 thoughts on “Wrap Up: December 2017

  1. I do recommend checking out Serial Experiments Lain after watching Evangelion. I’d also recommend Key the Metal Idol which I believe inspired some parts of EVA. Don’t worry, I’m definitely not calling it a rip-off though. Hahaha!

    • I hear Lain is an anime you can only understand after the 4th viewing, so I’ll build up some exp before i tackle that giant. xD
      If I can track down Key metal, then I would love to see it. xD

  2. Okay, you’ve got me to bite. It’s been years since I’ve last watched it, but I just rewatched episode 18 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Man, this takes me back. I’m convinced this show was way ahead of its time. From a technical standpoint, the entire show is amazing, There are so many little things that I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen in animation up to this point; Asuka showing up on Shinji’s HUD, has that ever been done before in a non-NGE show? This is the first time I can recall seeing anything like it.

    This episode demonstrates how that Shinji and his friends are just children who don’t always obey orders. I don’t think I quite appreciated how young they were the first time I saw this show. Sometimes I think people are too hard on the characters, but you have to realize that they are just kids who are moody as hell and don’t always act rationally (just like real 14 year olds). Shinji’s dad was great in this episode, he really shows what an ice cold son-of-a-bitch he is.

    The biggest weakness of this episode is the lack of feeling I felt when Toji was killed. I just felt like his character wasn’t built up enough for me to care about him. If I don’t care about him, Shinji’s reluctance to kill him and sadness when he dies seems rather trite.
    Other than that, this is still a strong episode (not the best though, I can remember a couple better), and I’m glad I re-watched it.

    As for the final episode and everything leading up to it (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it but I absolutely REFUSE to watch it no matter how much you praise it), I couldn’t disagree more with you. There isn’t much I can say other that I remember it being a bunch of nonsensical drivel.

    • lololol, bite? eh, what happened? ihaven’t even replied to your comment in my Eva review. hahaha
      and yeah, Toji is more plot device than anything else. he had those scenes with that girl and her lunchbox. I think the fact that Shinji doesn’t know it is Toji kinda hurts though, since he has more reasons to deny his fathers request. xD
      and what moments are better than this one? hehe

      omg, such strong hate for the ending. i think the fact that you couldn’t give the ending a break reflects a lot of other people’s opinion on it too, so I think its one of the reasons why Eva persists to this day. Mention the ending, and people has an opinion on it. Whether you like it or not, it was by design. they got you. Eva lives on forever. :p

        • I guess I was just eager to voice my opinion about why I disagreed!

          I do understand why you liked the Tonji’s death episode so much. It was dramatic as hell and the scene of Shinjis robot destroying it was epic. What moment was better? I liked when Shinji first reunited with his dad. The discovery of what happened to Ritsuko mom was also pretty awesome.

          As for the last episodes, believe me, I hated them regardless of what other people think. I admit that I concur with the popular opinion, but the opinion is popular for a very good reason, the last episodes sucked sooooo bad. I can’t believe you honestly think it is a worthy end to the series!

          I seriously need to request a review for you. I’m kind of embarrassed that most of the show that first pop into my head are like 10+ years old now. I really do miss watching anime, I need to get back to watching it so I can make a good suggestion.

          • and I actually welcome differing thoughts aout my psots, so please don’t hold back. xD
            oh yeah, when Shinji and his dad visit that grave marker for the mother, it was a really interesting scene. it was also a time Shinji and his dad was just a father and son, and you kinda had a good idea about Shinji’s dad then. I think he said “she lives in my heart forever” or something, and it kinda gives you an idea about his motivations for doing the Human Instrumentality Project.

            the one about the scientist’s brain is also nice. it’s her three personas (as a mom, a woman and a scientist(?), and i guess it would’ve made a bigger impact on me if the three magi plot point wasn’t shoehorned last minute, then abandoned when the anime turned insane towards the end.

            and hit me with your best shot. I don’t care if it’s old. I expected to hate Eva, but I am gushing at its old school appeal. the offer stands, my friend.

        • Okay, I have a request!

          I’ve spent a considerable abount of time racking my brain for some REALLY obscure anime from the 1980’s for your to review, but I admit that most of them just aren’t that great, and even though it’s tempting, I don’t want to request something horrible just to make you suffer. Well, perhaps you can watch just one episode of an obscure anime (the first anime I EVER saw as a kid), but no no that’s not my real request, I’ve got something much better.

          Since you’ve just finished Neon Genesis Evangelon this is the proper time for me to demand a review of FLCL. Reviews are great and all and I like reading yours; you say what you think, I respond with what I think, some other random guys respond with what they think, but sometimes words just aren’t enough and the best criticism takes the form of a parody.

          By some strange twist of fate, I watched FLCL after seeing Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time, and perhaps that biases me (or make me extremely receptive to the parody aspect), but I found FLCL to relentlessly poke fun at EVA. At one point I literally fell out of my chair laughing at how hard they were making fun of it. I sure you probably have already seen FLCL but this would be a PERFECT time for you to watch it again since you just finished Evangelion and I think you will appreciate it at a whole new level.

          As for my non-request (I had though of asking you to watch the whole series but that would just be lame as hell since the series is totally for younger kids), when I was like 10 years old they aired reruns of Grimm Fairy Tales Classics on cable. Do me a favor, track down and watch episode 17, The Worn Out Dancing Shoes and let me know what you think. I’m convinced that because I saw that as a kid, I’ve had a life long love for anime.

          • your comment was sent into the spam folders. argh, sorry about that. WP is goofy sometimes.
            and damn, FLCL. Ihave seen it, and I didn’t understood it back then. I’m actually scared to review it, like Eva but I guess I can try.
            I can’t watch it immediately though, since I have a lot on my plate right now. But worry not, I’ll review FLCL for ya.

            as for the Grimm Fairy Tale, I can try it but it’d be an adventure to track the whole series down. xD
            anyways, thanks for the recommendation!!!!

            • FLCL scared you? Come on, that show is a great time! To be honest I probably only understood a small fraction of the show’s humor too. Large portions of the show are parody of other anime and they do pick on Neon Genesis Evangelion quite a bit. It seems like you would enjoy more than anybody since you are the anime expert (I say that without sarcasm, since you have 400+ reviews you gotta be one of the world’s foremost experts on anime) and if anyone were to understand all the show’s references it would be you.

              As for Grimm Fairy Tales, yeah just ignore that request. That was pure nostalgia mixed with my typing on the keyboard after I came home from the bars at 3:00 am, it’s seriously not worth watching if you are over the age of 10. Really the best part of it was the opening theme song, it’s right up there with NGE or SAO for best intro song.

              • omygosh, you’re making me blush. thank you. and I saw FLCL before too, and I didn’t understand it. I feel like I might not understand it again, but I guess if my Eva review is good enough then I can give it a shot. Ican’t review it right away though. Maybe in March or so? Is that fine? I have a lot on my plate T.T

                I’ll still check it out, lol. Grimm tales are always fun. xD

  3. Check out Area 88 (2 episode OVA series with beautifully 2D animated aerial battles and war drama) and Megazone 23 (4 episode OVA series with a cool premise and animation). They are both short and beautiful although if you are only going to watch one then watch Area 88(Watch the OVA not the 3D-animated-eye-cancer TV series).

    Have you considered posting your reviews on steemit and making a 1$ or two? Geekorner is on steemit as well.

    I go by @hououinkyouma there.

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