Anime and Manga — Reviews and Previews
We’re at the halfway mark for November, and I’m exactly at the halfway point of my 50,000 word odyssey for NaNoWriMo. So, instead of watching a full show like I normally would, I’m finishing up the previews of the late-bloomers of the Fall 2012 anime season. There are only two more shows left, neither of them ones I was actively anticipating. But, I shouldn’t judge before I watch, so let’s see if my opinions were swayed by the shows themselves!
Say “I Love You”
Plot: In her sixteen years of life, Mei Tachibana has never had a friend. She’s never needed one – after all, people inevitably stab each other in the back, and Mei would rather just avoid the drama and the mess altogether. But one boy, Yamato Kurosawa, is starting to force himself into her life, especially after she accidentally roundhouse kicks him on the school stairs. He means well, and only wants to befriend her, but Mei does her level best to continue on with her day to day life sans friends. When a persistent stalker rears his ugly head, however, Mei has a difficult decision to make: take her chances with her stalker, or call Yamato (the only contact in her phone) for help? Of course, Yamato’s idea of help is to kiss her in front of her stalker, effectively laying claim to her and chasing him off. But what will this do to Mei’s carefully constructed icy veneer? Is a friend – a boyfriend, even – in her very near future?
Review: I’d probably normally find this cute and fluffy, if a little trite, but there are some rather skewed gender politics going on here that make it impossible for me to be comfortable with or recommend Say “I Love You.” Most of my issues lie with side-character Kenji Nakanishi, for whom women are just items to be admired or spurned, not even people in their own right. He casually harasses girls about their skirt length, grabs onto a girl’s skirt despite not knowing her, complains when girl’s aren’t cute enough for his tastes, and then acts offended when girls aren’t attracted to him. It’s almost horrifying how casual his misogyny is and how easily the show dismisses it as comedy. (A glance at Wikipedia implies this may be intentional, but it still irks me beyond words!) Then there are the issues with the main characters: first, Mei doesn’t need a boyfriend to mend her wounded heart, she needs a damn psychiatrist; and Yamato comes across as just a shade skeevy when he follows Mei around and takes advantage of her in a delicate situation. Hey, Yamato, do you know what also protects girls from stalkers better than forcing a kiss on them? Calling the police. Seriously. As far as the art goes, there’s nothing to write home about here, but the comedic style it sometimes slips into is pretty cute. The character designs aren’t awful, but I did desperately want to brush Yamato’s hair into a less ridiculous style.
Verdict: I will not be continuing with Say “I Love You.” It’s like A Devil and Her Love Song done horribly, horrible wrong. (What’s that? I’ve never mentioned A Devil and Her Love Song before? I’ll be covering it in my manga reviews next post! Suffice it to say, if you like the idea of Say “I Love You” but not the execution, give A Devil and Her Love Song a shot.)
Plot: There are four girls. And they play tennis. There is no plot. This is crack at its finest.
Review: Just like with Lychee Light Club, each episode is only a few minutes long. But whereas Lychee Light Club was only begrudgingly funny, Teekyu is pretty entertaining just by sheer volume. It throws so many jokes at you so quickly that by the time you’ve processed one you’ve jumped past three others, and you laugh at yourself for failing to keep up. There are jokes about perverts, money, idiocy, tennis, and perverts (panties are a favorite in this show), so there’s something there for almost everyone. Is this show a must watch? Heck no. But if you’ve got a few minutes to kill waiting in line or something, you can do worse than Teekyu. (But I must ask the question, why is there a 30 second opening for a two minute show?)
Verdict: If I ever get bored enough, it might be worth a second look.
Well, in the end, these last few shows weren’t the best of the season, but they were for the most part not the worst, either. At the very least, I can look back and say that I gave each a shot, and now I can begin to look forward to the first anime season of 2013! Armchair Madcap LiteTM will continue two weeks from now with the month’s manga coverage! I look forward to seeing you all again then!