Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Hatsukoi Ends. Hey, Isn’t Romance for Girls??

I’ve been very intrigued by Hatsukoi Limited. I love this show. My female friend, who’s into pretty boy shows like Hanasekeru Seishounen, is also crazy about this show. Yet I absolutely hate chick lit, chick flicks and other romance movies/shows. So why do I like HL?

Wait, make that, why does almost every guy like Hatsukoi, to varying degrees, even if we all objectively know that it wasn’t a very mature or deep show?

I can think of a few reasons actually, and these are the main things something like Hatsukoi has over the vast majority of romance series that only girls would love.

1. There are only shitty guys who each are so weak, they are capable of starring in their own harem anime. Misao can fit just right into School Rumble (not exactly harem though), Mamoru behaves the same as 90 percent of harem leads, Kusuda is the typical lecher harem lead etc. As some blogger whose name I have forgotten mentioned, there are no standout guys in Hatsukoi, and I think this is the reason why it is beloved by us male viewers. We fucking hate pretty boys who steal our women. We can emphatise with these regular joes, who have issues that we have once faced or are facing. Stuff like short legs, ugly faces, inexperience, envy towards better males, siscon, unrequited crushes etc. There are absolutely no annoying bad boy pretty boys, the type that are permanant main characters of shoujo manga like F4. Everyone hates those bastards except fangirls and they easily ruin a show.

2. There are plenty of hot girls, each with their own harem-animesque personality traits. I’ll say that the characters aren’t particularly unique, deep or rounded and some don’t even get developed at all throughout the series. But like a good harem anime, us male viewers just pick a favourite girl and root for her. It helps that the artwork/character design is one of the best around and there’s also lots of fanservice of the really titillating kind. I love boobies and Kei/Misaki/Meguru have nice boobies. The key to drawing in a huge male following for a romance series is to have beautiful girls and not-so-beautiful guys, and HL really succeeds with this. It doesn’t alienate female viewers as females aren’t as averse to beautiful females as males are to beautiful males. Speaking of which, I’m having a hard time picking a favourite girl  because so many are awesome. The only ones who I won’t instantly turn down if they ask me to date them are: the flat-chested swimming junior, the crazy drama club girl and weird incesty Koyoi. My favourite is probably Misaki in terms of appearance, but Chikura in terms of character.

3. There isn’t emo shit. The series doesn’t really have the sort of annoying whining, and it’s done very simply and to the point. The worst part about female-oriented romance shows is that some retarded emoshit will arise due to amazing coincidental tragedy, such as car crashes, diseases, affairs, or whatever natural disasters. Then the lovers will conquer the barriers and show their undying love. Hatsukoi is a mere gateway, and it doesn’t hide the fact that it shows the sweet, shallow and beautified version of first love that we all thought we had. It’s about nostalgia, rather than fantasy. Where everyone was shy, innocent and didn’t think about sex or money. Where people blushed just by talking to the opposite sex. Where everything done was a first. The whole show was saccharine-sweet and even the rejections weren’t outright, like Chikura and Ayumi’s. We guys don’t like heartbreaks in our romance shows. Also, the relationships aren’t overly grand and earth-shattering, like those you see in romance movies. I absolutely hate the sort like in Sex and the City (THE MOVIE) where the bride and groom finally get together intensely after 2 failed weddings etc etc and live happily ever after. HL has simple romances that you can easily relate to, instead of cursing that these wretched movies are tricking the foolish real girls into having unreal expectations of relationships.

4. There’s also the element of growing up in HL, which is sort of the same rush you get when viewing Honey and Clover, which was also equally popular between guys and girls.

5. Each arc was quickly settled and wasn’t wishy washy. I think this is pretty important, but not as important as the first 2 reasons. Come to think of it, Suzuka and its sequel, Kimo no iru Machi, were long, emo, and extremely wishy washy and convoluted but they were huge successes cos they had loser guys and lots of hot girls. But regardless, Hatsukoi’s quick and concise conclusions of each of the relationships prevented boredom from settling in, but at the expense of depth, which most guys don’t care about anyway. To us, romance is people getting together, and not the freakin process.

Hatsukoi Limited will probably be my recommendation to anyone who’s interested in a boyish group romance anime, which is surprisingly quite rare. I can only think of Boys Be for this genre.

[Ascaloth] Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (2009), Episode 13: Endless Eight

The Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody of three weeks ago was but a teaser to whet appetites, but this week the God Empress Herself makes an emphatic return. And how! It has been three years since the first season burst out from obscurity to capture the imagination of an entire generation of otaku, and things have changed a lot since then. The franchise is no longer the surprise cult hit it started out as; it has become the most anticipated thing in the industry. The iconic dancing ED is a thing of the past. The assorted fan-created media is not as widespread as they used to be, even though they had a good long run. It may no longer be a one-of-a-kind series; it may instead be the original that spawned an entire genre of anime in the 21st century. But though these three years have brought about a host of changes from the heady days of 2006, there are some things that remain the same. And for one, it’s still the same Haruhi we came to love 3 years ago. The SOS Brigade is back for good.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (2009), Episode 12 13: Endless Eight.

Coming off the events of Lone Island Syndrome, to Haruhi it is of course clear that summer vacation is the time to do all the fun stuff that is usually associated with it, and who better to enjoy summer vacation to the fullest with than with her friends? And this is but just one of the reasons she is so loved; she truly lives life to the fullest.

And first on the itinenary is a trip to the local swimming pool; which means another chance to showcase the girls in their flattering swimsuits, of course.

Though I’m wondering how Haruhi can keep her ribbon intact in the water; is it easier than it looks or something?

Wait, why does this feel familiar….oh never mind, it must be my imagination. With all of the trolling that Kadokawa has foisted on us since they first made an announcement about Disappearance, I’m probably just worrying too much.

Yuki’s been looking a little weird lately. I mean, she’s a humanoid interface, so she’s supposed to be acting differently from normal humans, but still….there’s something different even from her usual self. Eh, probably just me again.

Come to think of it, Haruhi is the type to drag lazy bums off their couches, out of their houses to really live life in the outside world; certainly a very different type of character from the kind that get love from today’s anime fans nowadays. Yet, she remains the most popular of them all even to this day despite that, and one must wonder why. Is it because it’s precisely because of her proactive attitude towards life? Are we all Kyons who secretly wish for a Haruhi to drag us out of our comfort zone to really live life?

Kyon always getting stuck with the tab is a running gag that never gets old, but sometimes I wonder why the rest of the SOS Brigade don’t pity him once in a while. I mean, Yuki can create money out of thin air if she wants, and certainly both Mikuru and Itsuki must have an "operational budget"; why is it always the poor "normal guy" with a student’s limited budget?

Yuki’s been giving that look a lot lately. It doesn’t seem all that much different from how she usually is at first glance, but it’s there. In fact, I keep getting the feeling I’ve seen this before….eh. Whatever.

Next is an O-Bon festival, which means yukatas, of course! And they look mighty fine in yukata, all right.

You know, I keep getting this weird feeling all episode that I’ve seen this festival scene before. As if I’ve already blogged about it before; the last time I can clearly recall, it was one in Misae’s arc in CLANNAD ~AS~, but it feels as if it was more recent than that. Why is that….bah. Maybe it’s just that festival scenes are a dime a dozen in anime these days.

It’s always the small things with Haruhi. From all appearances, she might not seem to know the meaning of the word "subtle", but sometimes some of the small things she does are just that.

Next on the itinenary, cicada catching. Haruhi sure is plowing through all the signature summer activities here.

Next is a one-day part-time job. Must be a bitch to be stuck inside these walking furnaces in the height of summer.

So….that’s the same frog costume that appeared in Someday In the Rain, right?

As if all the summer activities Haruhi keeps dragging them around to wasn’t enough, the SOS Brigade sans Haruhi herself suddenly decides to have meeting in the dead of night, just to have a meeting regarding…..wait, what? WUUUUUUUUUUUUT.

So….the deal here is, the SOS Brigade has become stuck in an endless recursion of time, starting from the 17th of August to the 31st. And when they reach the end of this timeframe, everything reset to the "save point" of the 17th, and all the activities they’ve done so far and will do until the 31st will be repeated once again. Which means….I’ve written about all this before. Urgh, I’ll probably have to go back and change the episode count….including this time, that’s how many times have they repeated time now?

…..15,498 times. So, adding on to those episodes which I do recall in my memory, this would make it the 15,511th episode? Whoa, KyoAni sure weren’t joking when they said they’ll make good on a future season of SHnY eventually….wait. Does Episode 12 count as an iteration? Because if it does, then that means this is the 15,510th episode instead…..fuck, my head hurts already. I’m just going to re-mark this Episode 13 and be done with it.

And it’s all because, despite all of the activities that Haruhi has been dragging the rest of the SOS Brigade around, there still ends up something which she always never got around to doing, despite only subconsciously having any clue as to what that could be. And if she herself doesn’t consciously know, what less the rest of the Brigade….you know, Kyon has always been pretty quick to get pissed at Haruhi, but I think that if there’s actually a good reason to be so, this would be it.

You know, I’d comment on how good the two looked sleeping together like that. I’d compare the two lookers, comment on which one I’ll choose if I had to pick between the both of them, and comment on how different people might have different tastes in girls. I’ll probably even mention that I’ll be cool just to see them bond with each other, if you know what I mean. But, I get the feeling I’ve already said all of that plenty of times before, so I’ll just leave it here.

Erm, yeah. I probably made plenty of gay, FABULOUS, and bromance comments here, too. Let’s just leave it at that.

But really, if anyone has the right to complain, it would have to be Yuki. Because she, unlike everyone else around her, actually has to live through AND remember the same two weeks over, and over, and over again. When we were young, there’s probably quite a few of us who wished that summer would never end; all I can say now here is, be careful what you wish for.

And at the end of this time loop, just as had happened in the previous time loops before this one, the Brigade is beset with a sense of failure as their Chief walks out the restaurant, vaguely unsatisfied, and poised to plunge the whole world back another two weeks once again. And yet there’s only really one person in the whole world who would really feel it….talk about the dire half-dragon version of ‘life sure sucks, doesn’t it?’

So….this is usually where I’ll end the article on a proper note, like I’ve been doing all this time. Except, if we’re going to plunge back into another iteration of this Endless Eight once again, really, what’s the point? Well, i suppose I do owe it to myself and to everyone else to finish things off properly….on the other hand, if no one is going to remember any effort I put into a proper ending anyway….

….oh well, fuck this. See you for the next loop, bitches.