Anime I am watching: Various
I have a free trial account at CrunchyRoll, and I've been using it today. The streaming isn't nearly as bad as I expected, possibly because of the premium trial, possibly because I turned off almost everything except FF?
I viewed this one mostly to test the streaming capabilities, since it's new and so far only available to paid accounts. Also, I was all "what the fuck" at the synopsis and wondered how it would be done. Turns out I was right, and it was a pretty awful episode, without any promise for getting better, because the whole premise of the series is pretty bad. There wasn't even much that was particularly cute about it, or appealing, or questions unanswered to make me want to see just one more episode, like with Kanamemo. Because, basically, just like that one, Chu-Bra is a fanservice-oriented show without much else going for it. It's pantsu pantsu pantsu with 12-year-old girls and big boobs and moe character designs.
This first episode was plotted around the first days at a new school and getting to know the other kids and how one girl, the new student rep actually, isn't normal. There's a huge focus by the other kids (and the camera angles) on the fact that she wears "adult" underwear. She's obsessed with nice underthings, apparently, and it was obvious to me from the beginning that she's probably doing wearability tests for the designer or something, but of course the other kids think she's doing paid dating. And we're treated to shots of her feeling up another girl's boobs, and also another girl's ass, and also panty shots and cleavage everywhere you turn.
I like ero stuff sometimes, but not in this pandering sort of "everything you see is ero" sort of way. I'm also not crazy about it when linked to twelve-year-old girls in a story that won't let you forget their age, especially. So, really, I guess this show just isn't for me, and that's fine, and I knew that going in.
2. Time of Eve
This one was another test, because I was having trouble getting the flash player to work (turns out that turning off "allow 3rd party content" in order to block viruses and stealth downloads? yeah, that keeps CR from streaming videos for me) and wanted to see if it was because of new series or old ones, too, and this was the most appealing of the older ones.
Two plotty things that will, without fail, make me interested in a story: time travel and the philosophical aspects of AI/androids/cyborgs. A third one is unreliable narrators, but that's more narrative than plot and, well, yeah. I wasn't even entirely aware of the android/cyborg thing until I saw Time of Eve today, but then I thought about it, and I realized that I've actually seen or read a lot of things that discuss whether or not they can truly have motions and free thought if they're created beings, and what that means about the nature of humanity. I think one of the crucial points here is the idea that humans are somehow more than just animals, that there is an existence beyond, like a soul or whatever. I'm of the opinion that sufficiently advanced AI is no different from human brains, but I don't really believe in souls or anything. Even android bodies are comparable to human bodies, though the lifespan may be shorter or there may be different types of mechanical failures or dementia.
Anyway. The point is: Time of Eve really hit one of my buttons, and it was good. The animation and scenery were beautiful, and even the camera pans and zooms that were more obviously CG were just lovely. (I hate it when the animation gets that too-artificial sleek CG look in parts when there rest of it has more of a hand-drawn feel, even if the whole thing was done with CG.) The music, too, was perfect, and I loved the way different motifs appeared, like the view of the cafe's sign with the little chime of background music, or the movement of the close-up of the main character's television moving backwards (zooming out) over the couch (where his sister was often lying) and table to see him sitting there (or not). There were a lot of repeated camera movements, actually, or pauses on particular props or pieces of scenery, but it felt more like motifs or echoes than lazy animation. I dunno, I liked it, is what I'm trying to get at.
I hope that another set of episodes is produced, since there are so far only six at fifteen minutes each, so it's really more like a movie that was cut up and streamed on the web with long intervals between each part. I really like the world, and the tension amongst the population about "androidholics" and people who can only think of androids as useful machines, and the Ethics Committee that wants to make sure that androids can't be mistaken for human, even though in this universe, the AI is sufficiently advanced that the primary difference is their body type and the way they are born. They're kind of like Chii from Chobits, but without the need for cable up-links or the funny ears. I guess Time of Eve is kind of like what would happen if the Chobits project was a success and all androids were like Chii, with the advanced learning mechanisms and the ability to have emotion (which I conjecture is part of becoming self-aware).
There's a lot more I could say about the series, but I'm having trouble making words for it, at least words that fit into sentences and make sense, so I'll just leave it as how much I love it. I'd like to get it on DVD, I think.
I have seen the first episode now. I was caught by the character designs a couple weeks ago and decided that I wanted to see at least the first episode. Discussion at animesuki and also the fact that gg are excited about the series only increased my interest. (I know that gg are known as trolls, but trolls amuse me, and I like their subs and their stated translation ideals. I even like the commercials. And they did Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (and Goku and Zoku, no?) so there's that. Anyway, they said "Durarara!! looks fantastic" and I said "well, I'll check it out, then." )
So far, I like what I see. The art is definitely appealing, and I like the music, and the characters themselves are great. I'm not entirely sure about the primary plot, but since this was mainly an episode about "let's meet some of the main characters", there wasn't a lot of plot to deal with yet. I was pretty blindsided by the fantasy element of the headless motorcycle rider, though. I really wasn't expecting her to actually be headless. Also, I think it's great that she's a she. Dunno why, but when I hear about headless riders (like in scary stories and stuff), I always expect them to be male-bodied.
Episodes 3 and 4 were available through On Demand, so they're the ones I saw. I mentioned it the other day, but I don't remember if I talked about it much. Mostly, I was all "man, I remember how the beginning of Bleach was awesome, and I loved Kubo Tite's style and the characters and it was funny, but then it turned into a dick contest without any other real plot" and whaddyaknow, these episodes I saw were what reminded me of that. The first one was the one where Ichigo saves Orihime from her brother-the-hollow, the second was the one where Chad has the bird that is also the soul of a boy. Really, though, Bleach was way better before it turned into the series of dick contests, even if there were hints of it all along. (I mean, honestly, who didn't read/hear about how Ichigo's sword was enormous and bigger than anyone expected, only he didn't know how to use it, and not snicker because it was like they were discussing his penis? Especially when it turns out that Ichigo is a virgin? Yeah...)
I've known for ages that the current state of Bleach isn't something I care for, but I didn't realize how much potential it had in the beginning, not until I decided to get me some basic anime-culture knowledge and read the manga, so I would know what everyone else was referring to. And then I was like "wow, this is actually kind of good?" At least, until I got to the second arc, at which point I was like "dear lord, I need someone to get me an abridged version of this shit, without the power ups and chapter upon chapter of fighting - only the important plotty bits, please, and stuff with Ichigo's dad or Kon, because lolololol."
(I think Isshin Kurosake has one of the greatest character-types ever. I love that archetype whenever it appears, really. He's even better in Bleach where everyone is running around all srs-faced and "my sword is better than your sword" and blah blah fishcakes, because he lacks a srs-face and doesn't care about sword sizes, and he wears amazing clothes.)
Okay, that's it for now. I just started Sasameki Koto and I'm thinking of watching Aoi Bungako soon, too, plus Bakemonogatari, but it's getting late and I need to play my KoL turns before rollover. (frig, only an hour and a half left. lag is going to be awful.)
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