Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rambling + ef - a tale of memories + Air = Review Time!

I'm bored now, so I'm going to write a review of...uh, everything I've watched lately that isn't NGE or TTGL. But, before that, I'm going to explain in great detail why I'm writing reviews of anime that most of you watched at least 2-3 years ago. You see, back two or three years ago, I had just obtained DSL. As in, I'd had it for under a year. Before that, I had what is quite possibly the slowest, shittiest internet service. Like, we started out calling the AOL people and bitching for more free dial-up, then when they told us to shut our damn mouths and to be glad we'd gotten two years of shitty free internet with a fuckload of porn ads that probably gave the computer downstairs 2109341+ undetectable viruses. So, me still being like...I don't even remember how old I was, it was this long ago. But then we got this other internet, that was run through the internet. It was, And it was horrible shit-there was a maximum hour usage of 40 HOURS A MONTH. And that shit wasn't even free, we had to pay ten dollars for crappy 56k internet that never downloaded things past a speed of 8kb/s unless it was 3 AM at night. Not that I ever got to use it at 3 AM at night, because it was only on one computer and...yeah.

I think I might've been thirteen or fourteen at the time. I'm not even totally sure. And it wasn't like I had cable TV or anything, I remember having to sneak off to the library with my behemoth of a laptop that had to have a special card and cord just to use the internet, because it was only to be used on special occasions or something. That was pretty awful. And then I think they went out of business, or wanted to charge more or something, so we stopped using them. It was probably the worst experience I'd had in a while, though...I remember trying to download the Majora's Mask N64 ROM, since I'm not going to really lie about my vidya piracy when I was a young kid, and it took over three hours, and everyone was yelling at me to turn off the internet. But I got the actual game-maybe that's why I was such a vidya nerd then, because back then was when it was still possible to emulate games on PCs before they all got ridiculous in terms of what you needed to power them. I dunno.

And then I had peoplePC. I hope they're like, out of business now, but I'm not going to really complain as much about them, because I was able to use the internet whenever I wanted by going through some loophole in the software (but then an update fixed that, but after that I only had it for another month, so oh well.) That was when my mother decided she wanted to start going onto yahoo chatrooms though, so it was like a bloody war to decide who was able to use the computer and who wasn't. And that wasn't exactly fun, but that was when I finally just decided to try downloading anime at the library. But I had shit taste and was into MMOs at the time, so I was downloading stuff like Inuyasha or something, whenever I did. I didn't often, because I was too busy playing that silly online game. If you're playing Maplestory, I'd advise for you to quit, because I think my life got a million times better after I quit. I mean, I'm not exactly a friend-attracting normalfag now, nor will I ever be. But my taste in things got so much better, and I was able to actually do productive things rather than grinding infinite levels. That's why I don't like MMOs, even though you might feel like you have absolutely nothing better to do, after I've played an MMO I feel like I've done nothing, and I'll play one for like three days in a row (I mean, I'll sleep and eat and take breaks, but all my time'll be devoted to that otherwise) and then I either get addicted or bored. But it's not like the vidya where there might be an actual somewhat-meaningful storyline, it's just LEVELAN and stuff for e-penis.

That being said, I'm not really against MMOs, I just think that playing them religiously to the point where you do nothing else is boring. That's just my opinion, though, and it's not like I'm the most social butterfly out there, I just don't think MMOs are as rewarding as...a lot of things.
Since I've rambled on enough about the history of my internet, I think I should just jump into the reviews of the anime I've watched? Oh, but before you think that my interweb history has no relevance, I brought it up mostly because I think that the longer you go without exposure to the internet, the worse your taste will be. I mean, I didn't like Bleach even then, and I don't now, so I guess it doesn't particularly matter, and it's like a learning curve, in a way. But, if you still have 56k, I think it'd be a good idea to try and get DSL/Cable internet. I think the days of 56k are dead, but I'm not totally sure, because just because I don't know anyone who has it doesn't mean some old grandma out there doesn't have it?

Oh, and for your information, this review isn't about everything I watched, just whatever I feel like reviewing, whether it's good or bad.

Now, for the first review, is.. ef - a tale of memories.

Now, my thought of this series was that it was pretty much...average. I didn't hate it, I liked how SHAFT executed it, but...I'm not sure if the source material was super-fantastic to begin with. I'm not going to say it was bad, but it certainly didn't exceed my expectations. A lot of people seem to really think this show is terrible and full of cliches, or, on the other hand, they absolutely love it, and think it's the best thing ever. I don't really think it's that fabulous, though I certainly wouldn't say that I hate it at all.

I think the main thing that can be said about this anime is that one of the characters in it sparked a dubious fansubbing group, at least for many. Except, that's not the main thing at all, and that's just some side knowledge. It was based off of an eroge, and I don't really care who made it. There's a translation project for it somewhere, and they released a starter patch, but I'm not totally sure if they plan on continuing. I think it was the Miyako route.

As for the actual characters, which I find more interesting than the actual plot of the anime, I -hated- Kei. I absolutely thought she was just annoying, over-possessive, and really bitchy to Miyako. This Miyako really can't hold a candle to the superior Miyako, however, even though I certainly wouldn't say I dislike her. And the mangaka guy, who I found so un-notable that there was pretty much nothing I could say about him, was another victim of that girl. Maybe I just don't like Kei a lot because I knew a girl with a similar hairstyle, only her hair wasn't purple, and she acted really similar. I don't think that's it, though. The thing I probably hated the most about Kei was how she was Chihiro's sister, and yet, practically her only contact with her sister was through TEXT MESSAGES. Just because it was so painful for her to talk to her sister, because of the whole amnesia thing, which I thought was probably the dumbest part of the plot. (Yet, I don't mind Chihiro as a character, I honestly thought she was pretty cute.

The thing that always bothers me about eroge adaptations is that nine times out of ten, the male characters are so dull that I forget their names a few days after watching the show. I realize, because I've -played- eroge, and enjoy playing them once in a while, that the reason for this is because you're supposed to place yourself into the shoes of the main male character, which means I get to pretend to be a boy for a while. I wish there were more yuri eroge, those are really fun, because I don't have to pretend to be the indistinct teenage boy. But, because of this, there's very little actual personality allocated to the male characters in most eroge, because, in general, the more defined of a character an anime/manga/eroge character tends to be, the harder it is to put yourself in their shoes. That might work for eroge, where all of the focus is on the girls and you're meant to form your own opinions about the nature of the main character, or you can make choices to decide what actions you'd take. But I don't think it translates well into anime. That's not to say that all of the male characters in anime based off of visual novels or eroge are bad, and I'm sure there've been some good executions of the main male character. (Aside from the way that Yuuichi in Kanon '06 dressed, because he looked like a totally unfabulous hobo, I actually didn't mind the way he was executed, because he at least came off as some sort of sarcastic bastard who just likes messing with people.) I'm sure there're exceptions, but for the most part, I just feel that the main male protagonists in anime based off of eroge tend to be...very, very dull and completely forgettable.

That being said, I think that while the animation for -ef- was wonderful, the actual plot itself was a bit lackluster and offered very little towards my enjoyment of the series. An illness like Chihiro's, despite the fact that it's complete nonsense or some such equivalent, tends to be more amusing than it is good plot material. Also, I just came back to writing this and took a two-week break, so that's really all I have to say. If you want eyeporn with plot that's just generic and makes me laugh at some of the awkwardness and typical keyaids-esque 'illnesses', but still manages to be decent, at the very least, then just watch -ef- a tale of memories. I haven't watched melodies, but I might not, no SHAFT.

I think, since I'm in the mood for it, I'll review Air TV. To abruptly switch what I was talking about...

So...yeah. Of all of the works of Key I've seen adapted by Kyoto Animation, this one's probably the weakest. I didn't particularly like any of the main three girls, though at least I didn't hate any of them. My favorite character in the show, though, is...

...Potato. Yes, that adorable dog that just looks so cute and like you want to hug him only you can't, because it's an anime character. He just totally loved everyone in the show and was an adorable doggie and was so cute with his little bark and--

I'll spare you more of that. But that just goes to show how...oddly developed the show is. One of my main problems with the show is, upon seeing the recap episode, both Minagi and Kana get about a minute each to summarize their arc. Which...really kinda kills the emphasis and the events of what happened, and makes it seem more like "MISUZU MISUZU MISUZU". Of which...I wasn't a fan of Misuzu much at all. I'll admit it, she was cute, but...Key really needs to stop making plots that revolve around these "LOL MYSTERIOUS ILLNESSES". It's like, it couldn't hurt to actually do something that doesn't revolve around one main character dying/disappearing? Even though I quite liked Kanon and Clannad, I just still find it simply strange. And, with the exception of making a plot setup so that Haruko could accept her role as Misuzu's true mother, I didn't like how it was executed.

But I think one of the worst plot executions would have to be Crow!Yukito. I understand that Air wasn't a story based on reality, and I understand that there are a lot of supernatural happenings that don't really get much of an explanation, but this is really just...over-the-top. There's no explanation, besides the fact of "Oh, I'll die if I get too close to you!111", but then Yukito -doesn't- die, but instead, he becomes a bird that follows around Misuzu, and has apparently been doing so ever since the beginning of the story. Did he learn to do the time warp, or something? I just really don't get it.

And, furthermore, even -not- in Misuzu's story arc, the other two arcs are just...too rushed, and I felt like I didn't even get to know Minagi or Kana. And, as a result, I think that all three of the arcs kinda...suffered. I think that both of them could have been elaborated on much further and extended my understanding of them, but as it stands now, I find it difficult to care about Minagi's mother's neurosis.

But, what I really really liked about AIR was the summer arc. I understand that it's supposed to give an explanation for the happenings to Misuzu and Yukito, and it was only one episode. But the overall feel of it, of the story that explained the happenings in the present, was quite well-done, I thought. I didn't have anything particularly against any of the characters in the Summer Arc, and I thought that even the explanation of Kanna's mother's illness was decent enough (Key and their lack of explanation for illnesses simply baffles me, and I don't understand how it underlines the plot in almost any case, but oh well). I haven't seen Air in Summer yet, and apparently it elaborates on the arc...

In any case, Air is worth watching, and I'd reccomend it, because it's well-done. But, be prepared for a lot of annoying nuances in the plot, and be prepared for a lot of people who think that it's far better than it is. If you liked other Key works, you should be fine, and most people who read this review have probably not wanted to watch AIR or seen it by now, seeing as it was made in the Winter '05 season, but it's still a nice show to watch if you're bored, want to watch something with an interesting conclusion, and have a few hours to kill.

Just be prepared for every character except Misuzu to get shafted.

Since I think this is enough for a post, I figure I'll just leave it at where it is now. Um...I'm not sure that many of you care too much about my opinions on Air, though...

In any case, if you'd like to know the anime I'm watching this season, I'm currently watching K-ON!, Basquash!, Pandora Hearts, Saki, and Eden of the East. Next season, I'll definitely be picking up ZSZS, Umineko, APH Season Two, and Aoi Hana. (I'll also be looking into Bakemonogatari and CANAAN). time I review, expect a review for one of these shows, or other things I felt like randomly watching. So, until next time?