Archive for September, 2015

27
Sep
15

The Devil is a Part-Timer, Otaku no Video

The Devil is a Part-Timer

Comedy anime rarely work. I’m not sure why. Are animators inherently unfunny? Is the Japanese sense of humor just that different? Does it have something to do with the translation?

The answer is: laziness. They think showing bouncy breasts, characters screaming at each other, and super-annoying misunderstandings are hilarious. This is the basis of humor in every single anime ever created. They rely on incredibly tired genre tropes instead of ever trying to fashion a new joke.

This series is labeled as a comedy, but it’s not funny. It uses all the gags outlined above, and fails to be funny even once. However, the series does have kind of a cool premise, and the story was interesting enough to keep me watching.

The Devil lives in an alternate universe. His armies of evil are beaten by humans, and he escapes to our universe. In our universe he has no powers. So, he resorts to getting a job at McDonald’s in order to pay the bills. Various members of his home universe trickle through to our side to be a thorn in his side and create plenty of drama.

The story of him trying to start a new life was good. I especially liked the attention to detail that the Devil didn’t know how to speak Japanese when he first crossed over, and everyone thought he was insane.

Sadly, the story doesn’t go anywhere. There are a few battles, and the Devil manages to save humans because he’s suddenly turned over a new leaf. He manages to do all this while getting a big promotion to Assistant Manager. I liked the concept and the general thrust, but nothing else happens. The story just stops mid-way through without any resolution. The anime is probably based on an unfinished manga. That would explain it. I’m too lazy to look it up, though.

Verdict: Average

Otaku no Video

Otaku no Video is one of Gainax’s weirdo pet projects, an OVA from the early 90s. They were just getting a foothold in the business, and had a couple of modest hits, but they hadn’t skyrocketed to success with Evangelion yet.

You can tell it’s autobiographical as hell. The main character is a normal guy who is in college, likes to play tennis, and has a cute girlfriend. He gets turned on to manga and the otaku lifestyle. From there, his personal life disintegrates. He loses the cute girlfriend, but gains a bunch of strange friends.

Eventually, they start a company making figurines (with questionable legality), and are wildly successful. This venture fails, too. Now, I was pretty interested in the story until this point, but this is when it completely falls apart. The main character picks himself back up, and is determined to become the “Otaking,” the greatest otaku of all. OK, sure, so what’s next?

Well, you don’t get to see what’s next. We flash-forward several decades, and the Otaking is old. He became the Otaking, but you don’t know how, and you don’t know what that means. He and his best friend go examine their defunct theme park (again, completely skipped over), and then ride a magic rocket with their friends (who are young again for some reason) to a special planet for Otaku.

Um, yeah.

This OVA is only two episodes long, but it needed to be three. We needed to see how exactly they got where they ended up. They forgot Act 3 of a 4 act play. And the utter fuck-up in the storytelling sinks this anime big-time.

The OVA is also punctuated with live-action interviews with “real” otaku. They are actually Gainax staff who are reading from a script. Most of these were woefully lame. I think I may have only laughed twice. And they seem to go on and on. Maybe some otaku and their waifus will find this shitty funny, but as a person with a job, a life, and a family, I didn’t.

Verdict: Bad

19
Sep
15

John Wick, This is Where I Leave You

John Wick

Keanu Reeves has been languishing for a long time. Ever since the Matrix trilogy wrapped up over a decade ago, he hasn’t been in much. And what he has been in hasn’t been very good. That all changed when he starred in John Wick. This is a true return to form for Reeves. John Wick is a fantastic, fun film that plays to Reeves’ strengths. Here, he plays the strong silent type who kicks copious amounts of ass. The story has been done a million times before. He’s a former assassin who got out of the business, but revenge pulls him back in. The way John Wick distinguishes itself from the pack is in the action sequences. The shooting and the fighting are like a ballet. They are extremely (perhaps beautifully) well choreographed. They manage to do things I’ve never seen in an action film before. Reeves is like a god of combat who dispatches countless nameless hooligans on his quest for vengeance. Plus, headshots, so many headshots. I was impressed by the visual style and the cinematography. Reeves delivers a good, restrained performance. This was an inventive action film, and it was nice to see Reeves in something good again.

Verdict: Awesome

This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You is a dramedy of the worst kind. It is rarely funny and it is barely dramatic. The general thrust is that the head of a dysfunctional family has died, and he requests that his family spend a week together to mourn him. His ulterior motive was to get the family to become closer. Basically, this doesn’t happen. Everyone has their heads stuck up their own asses to a preposterous level. Nobody can keep their lives or their relationships together. Everyone flies off the handle at any perceived slight. Everyone is detestable, and there are no characters to root for. In the end, they kind-of, sort-of make amends, but not really. The entire thing was an exercise in futility. Given the tremendous cast they assembled, the whole thing was a big letdown. They should have focused more on the comedy aspect, and maybe then the movie would have been watchable.

Verdict: Shitty

13
Sep
15

Classically Shitty: To Kill a Mockingbird

The Journal of Boo Radley

Dear Diary,

The world is a cruel place. As you know, diary, everything was great until a few years ago when that annoying Finch family moved in next door. The mother was nice, I suppose, but she died a while back. After that, the father was completely unable to raise his children with any sense of decency or respect. He’s a small-fry lawyer, and he’s working so much, he’s clueless what his kids are doing. And it’s precisely what his kids are doing that bothers me.

I was living a happy if not solitary life in my parents’ house. I kept to myself, mostly. I don’t like to get in the way of other people. I don’t like to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. I value privacy above all else. So, when these supervision-less kids started snooping around my house, I got understandably upset.

At first it was small things. They would knock on the front door and run away. Yeah, that’s annoying, but I did the same thing when I was their age. I let it slide. But as time went on, they got bolder and more aggressive. Pretty soon they were throwing tires at my front door. Sometimes they would roll inside the tires like they were in a Mad Max movie.

Continue reading ‘Classically Shitty: To Kill a Mockingbird’




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