Meeting update from December 4

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I wanna give a shout out to everyone who reviewed anime this semester, especially those who stuck with it.
Anyways, here’s our update!!
Last week we voted for the anime we wanted to watch next semester!!! If you didn’t know already, they’re Tokyo Ghoul (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php…), Noragami (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php…) and Samurai Flamenco (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php…). Thanks to everyone who voted.
We’re having a last, unofficial meeting this Thursday, and everyone is welcome to come and to try and make it. If you didn’t get your tshirt last meeting, now’s your chance. Make sure to come, bring food and bring friends to destress from finals.
Thanks everyone for hanging in this semester. It was great fun.

Stephanie Reviews Bastard!!

Show: Bastard!!— Genre: Action, Adventure— Episodes: 6

This week, I decided to give myself the assignment of finding an anime that I had seen, but would rate very lowly, since all my reviews so far have been things I like. So, here goes.

Kids, strap into the wayback machine, we’re going back to 1992, a time when companies produced shows completely independent from quality, because they knew fans would buy it, because there was no other option. Bastard!! is a six episode OVA based on an ongoing manga series that appears in Ultra Jump, I assume when they run out of other things to print.

I came across this spectacular failure at the turn of the century, when some friends and I were quenching our anime thirst by circulating VHS copies of bootlegged films with varying quality. It was on a tape with a DBZ movie and Dragon Half, and I still associate the three of them even though they have nothing in common.

Bastard!! is not appropriate for children. Or anyone, really. Our plot is simple: the bad guy, Dark Schneider, is trying to take over the world and also get a girlfriend or three. He’s been in prison for a while, and by prison I mean trapped inside the body of this kid:

Because that’s a thing.

Meanwhile, Dark Schneider’s lackeys have been trying to raise the god Anthrasax so that the apocalypse happens.

Fast forward 15 years in the storyline, and THE APOCALYPSE HAS HAPPENED. Seriously, the bad guy wins, but the story doesn’t end. And we don’t see how they did it, it’s just done. Then, Dark Schneider decides his old allies have gone too far, and fights for the good guys, sort of! With magic!

And there are demons, and guts, and ladies who can’t seem to keep their clothes on for any amount of time.

Our main characters and places are all named after 80s US metal bands. In the version released to us, Anthrax was changed to Anthrasax, Metallica to Meta-Ricana, etc. There is a female character in this series called Bon Jovina. Really.

The OVA ends on a cliffhanger, which doesn’t really matter since you can’t tell what’s going on anyway. The internet tells me there were supposed to be two more episodes, but even they thought it was so bad, they never finished making it.

Bastard!! is so terrible, it sort of loops back around to being entertaining. It has to be, or it wouldn’t still be talked about. There are lots of fans of this show, for reasons I can’t quite fathom. If it weren’t for the confusing, disjointed episodes, time jumps, and lack of ending, I might have actually enjoyed it. It makes no sense at all. None. There’s a lot of crying, and fighting, and yelling. They resolve three out of four characters they’re supposed to be chasing. Then, you think something is going to happen, and it’s over. That’s the cliffhanger.

I give it 1 out of 10 Golden Tanukis.  Everybody gets one.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Max Reviews Mushishi

Show: Mushishi 
Genre: Supernatural 
Studio: Artland Inc.
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama
Episodes: 26

I’m surprised how many votes Mushishi has gotten in the poll for next semester’s anime! It really is an interesting show and I’m glad so many people in the club know about it already. I watched Mushishi a long time ago as a kid and thought about reviewing it now to give it the credit it deserves.

SYNOPSIS

The story takes place in 19th century Japan and is centered on a traveling man named Ginko who serves the profession of a mushi master (mushi-shi in Japanese), one who observes mushi and aids people who are experiencing problems with them. Mushi are primitive, unicellular-like organisms that take on a variety of shapes and abilities. They are abundant in all places, yet unobservable by all, with the exception of the mushi masters. They cause supernatural phenomena such as strange diseases, illusions, and the granting of unnatural—and oftentimes undesirable—abilities to people.

The only major recurring character is Ginko. In addition, there is no overarching plot: each episode is a fully contained story, usually dealing with a single type of mushi, its interactions with people, and Ginko’s experiences with attempting to reconcile human and mushi needs. The show is very mellow and philosophical in tone. It is best described as a food-for-thought anime, focusing on simple plots that have deep and thoughtful meanings and implications.

INTERPRETATIONS AND OPINIONS

Mushishi is about what we can’t observe and how it affects us. It directs its attention to broad themes such as the extent of human perception of the natural world and the inherent danger and beauty of nature. It is very pure in its stylistic approach, containing simple characters, settings, and music that are often derived from or inspired by 19th century Japanese culture and lifestyle. Its focus on themes and the structure of its episodes creates an interesting philosophical undertone to the show, in which each episode is like a parable, providing a lesson for the viewer to consider. For that reason, Mushishi is a very thought-provoking show, truly the first of such animes I had ever encountered as a kid. For example, in one episode, there is a mushi that is carried by the sound of one’s voice that causes rust-like rashes to appear on objects, so that the girl afflicted with the mushi will no longer speak out of fear and embarrassment. Another episode features a plant-like mushi that grows to mimic the appearance and function of human beings, which serves as the child of two elderly parents who are unknown of their son’s true nature. But the mushi aren’t the only creatures in the show that deserve attention. Ginko himself is a man shrouded in obscurity: he speaks few words and bears a mysterious past, yet is a knowledgeable, assuring, and venerable person, seeking only to help others that suffer and to study the mushi; these qualities make him a highly intriguing character. In all, Mushishi is an excellent show with a lot of creative thought and effort behind it that conveys a unique and intellectually stimulating experience.

FINAL NOTES

I would recommend this show to anyone, really. Mushishi is a very enriching anime that provides a break from the stresses of life to consider some interesting connections between humans and nature. Because of its structure, the episodes do not have to be watched all at once or in sequential order. Actually, I would encourage you not to watch multiple episodes at a time without reflecting on each one a bit, to consider their deeper implications.

Max Dunevitz is a UF student who enjoys meaningful and insightful anime and video games that challenge the status quo. His hobbies include programming, the arts, music composition, mathematics, and community service.

Stephanie Reviews Golden Time

Show: Golden Time— Genre: Comedy, Romance— Episodes: 24

This week we’ll be looking at Golden Time, a 24 episode dramedy about some college-age folks. It ran from October 2013 to March 2014 on Japanese television, and was simulcast on American websites like crunchyroll.

On his first day of college, Tada Banri just wants to fit in and be normal. An accident took his memories the previous year, and he spent a long time in hospital before getting back on his feet. Despite his amnesia, he’s trying to be an average college freshman. Of course, he’s already running late for his entrance ceremony, so he picks a likely fellow freshman and follows him. Mitsuo Yanagisawa is warm and friendly towards Banri, and they become fast friends. Just as they’re reaching the college, one of our other main characters makes her debut. Koko Kaga pops out of freaking nowhere and assaults Mitsuo with a bunch of flowers.

Seriously, this is our first introduction to Koko.

And so it begins. Koko is obsessed with Mitsuo, and everything unfolds as you expect it might. He’s not interested, she’s obsessed. I expected Mitsuo to come around, as that’s the norm for most romance shows, but at some point Koko realizes she’s becoming a stalker, and doesn’t like the direction her life is going.

Koko realizes she might be a tad shallow at the moment.

Banri tries really hard to fit in, but the only other friend he’s made is actually from his old high school. She goes by Linda, and there is a complicated subplot that unfolds with her. She’s extremely useful to Banri in helping him with his memory problem.

Everything you would expect is there. There is a beach episode, a festival episode, an episode where the freshmen all pick clubs. The depth here is in the characters, not what they’re doing. Amnesia is a tired premise, but they play it well. This show pulled me along for a variety of reasons, not least of which is because it’s set in college, not middle or high school. The characters already sort of know what they want to do with their lives, they know who they like and it’s not a new sensation for most of them. And it’s funny. This show sneaks into your heart when you’re not paying attention, and you don’t even realize you care until it’s too late. The sad parts are tragic, and the comedy is really on point. There’s a lot of this kind of thing:

Of course pieces of Banri’s memory come back to him here and there, and it gets complicated fast. The second half of this show is definitely way more interesting and better paced than the first half, although the first 13 episodes are interesting enough.

Also, this show is full of crazy surprises.

NANA is his neighbor? What?

My love for this show built up over time. By the end though, I was rooting for our characters to have their happily ever after. Bring tissues.

All in all, I give this show 7 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. In my opinion one of the better anime to come out of last winter/spring, but I had to get several episodes in to really get attached to the characters, and it gets really confusing at times. Details that should be pointed out as important aren’t, and not in a clever Sherlock Holmes sort of way. Some of it is really obtuse. The characters shine through, however, and all in all it was an enjoyable experience. And all the opening and ending theme music is done by Yui Horie, who I love.

On another note, it occurs to me that all of the shows I’ve reviewed I’ve rated pretty well. I suppose the first few weeks I just wanted to share my recent enjoyable findings with whoever cares to read them. Next week I’ll try to dredge up something truly awful, just to round things out.

If you have any suggestions on reviews, feel free to reach out to me here or on the gator anime facebook page. If I’ve seen it, I’m happy to write about it.

Until then, I love you all <3

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime.