Extra: But it was the past so it’s ok…

rideback rinAs a writer, I have personally run into some really nasty arguments by fellow writers and readers trying to defend sexist texts and media. But probably one of the most common excuses is “historical accuracy.” This kind of response is given to defend all kinds of horrible writing, half baked “research”pieces and outright racism and sexism. But when it’s broken down, it’s an excuse that holds less water than a thimble.

As I mentioned briefly in my review of Joker Game, a very sexist comment by a lead character at the very end left a rather bad taste in my mouth. The line was the leader of the spy devision speaking to his subordinate after closing a case: “Do you know why we only hire men? Because women kill even when it isn’t necessary, for foolish reasons like love and hate.”

My issue with the above quote should be very obvious. However, this is where many would gleefully chime in with, “But it was in the past! During WWII and that’s how people viewed women so it’s accurate!”
That is a lazyass excuse for a sexist show.

You see, while there have been toxic opinions about women on and off for hundreds of years, this particular show was written in today’s world. On one side, they had no reason to have any character voice this viewpoint. It was unnecessary. It added nothing to the story besides making the main heroic mastermind a sexist jerk. And on the other end, if they felt they HAD to include a line that is clearly sexist by today’s standards, they should have shown through the female characters of the show that the statement wasn’t true and that the man who said such was blindly wrong (characters can be wrong, including heroic ones and I’m all for that). But that’s not what occurred. Once the line was spoken I mentally went over every female character in the show. There aren’t many. And, sadly, they are all lead completely by emotions. Not a single one puts their personal feelings aside for the sake of their country/mission. The men in the show, on the other hand, are shown to be capable of both. Many are led by emotion, but some do sacrifice all emotion and personal agenda for their country. And there in lies my big issue with this show (besides the fact that they couldn’t keep to one MC).

See, when your media takes place during an era where a group is discriminated against, you need to take care to make it clear that such sentiments are not true. Yes, women have been seen in a bad light by many throughout history and by many today. But it’s not true. Women are just as capable as men as soldiers, spies and formidable enemies not led by impulsive actions. And if this show had made that clear by having such female characters present, we could then write off the old windbag’s quote as his personal opinion and that such an opinion is trash. But by having all the women in the anime live up to such a sexist statement, this show, a modern creation, establishes that the statement is seen as truth as it is all that exists in that world. In other words, it makes this show sexist in nature.

Again, it’s ok to have incorrect viewpoints and assholes in your stories. But just be very clear in your writing, through other characters, world building or confrontations, that such views are incorrect. Otherwise you run the risk of appearing to justify those sexist agendas.

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Joker Game Review

77523Story:
In the year 1937, on the brink of WWII, a agency of spies is formed in Japan, its members scattered throughout the world to witness firsthand the changes about to take place…

Violence:
Due to the nature of not only this genre, but also the time period, it should come as no surprise how much violence is in this show. In addition to characters getting stabbed and shot to death, there are also cases of people being poisoned rather graphically. While the show manages to stay in the TV14 category, if you are squeamish about blood, skip this title.

Language:
Pretty average. Sh-ts, d-mns and b-words here and there.

Nudity:
Interestingly, we avoid this issue entirely. No nudity to speak of.

Theology/mythology:
Some mentions of God in passing and one use of a Catholic confessional to pass along information. Aside from that, all clear.

Personal impression:
I can really appreciate this show’s attempt at not only tackling a specific time period few shows get close to, but also doing so in a genre not overly popular in anime. That said, there was a major flaw to the structure of this show that lead to it remaining in the “decent” category and never leaving it. And that flaw was in never stickling with the same MC for more than two episodes. Because the character you are rooting for constantly shifts, it’s hard to completely attach to the show. It feels almost like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex without the laughing-man arc. In other words, a bunch of one-shot arcs. As such, there isn’t really much in the way of character development, nor is there any overall goal gained by this agency as a whole. You end almost exactly where you start, which makes the whole show feel disjointed. Well written, but disjointed all the same.
The art was very detailed and good quality the whole way though. The music was a bit repetitive, but fitting. If we could only have stuck it out with only one or two MCs, it would have been a stronger show. As it stands, it’s fine if one-shots are enjoyable for you or you’re interested in this particular era (which was actually well researched for this). But for me I felt a bit too disconnected overall. And it didn’t help that the last episode ended with a heavily sexist statement (more on that in my upcoming Extra), leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. Even so, the historical elements were very interesting in and of themselves so if you’re a history-buff, this show might just be for you.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, espionage
Company: Kadokawa Pictures
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Taste test for Fall 2016

The new streaming season has fully set in! And as such I’ve tried a grand total of ten brand new shows! Not all will make it through the first pass, however…

moroseThe Morose Mononokean 
Story:
Hanae Ashiya makes a rather large error one day when he assists a youkai on the side of the road. An act of kindness it may have been, but it throws him into the world of exorcism.
Flavor:
Bland. This show doesn’t seem to offer anything anime fans haven’t already seen in shows like xxxHolic or Book of Friends. In fact, those shows might have done it better, although it might be too hasty to make such a call this soon. Regardless, the characters in this show aren’t offensive or annoying as of yet, but they don’t have much appeal either. I foresee this one being a very tame and tasteless ride if the first two episodes are anything to go on.
New episodes every Sunday morning

orange2b1Orange
Story:
High schooler Naho receives a letter from herself in the future instructing her to not make more than a few mistakes she will regret later…
Flavor:
Sweet but with an unpleasant aftertaste. I used to be a super shy kid. I used to never talk to anyone. It took years to overcome my mental hangups and sometimes I still struggle with them. The heroine of this anime is what I used to be times ten. She’s not just shy, she’s near crippling with it. Since I used to be this way, it makes it very frustrating to watch as I feel the anxiety levels I used to have returning to me just watching Naho make mistake after mistake. Honestly, she’s just too much like how I used to be and it makes watching this anime really confusing and uncomfortable for me. So while the story and characters aren’t all that bad yet or anything, this might be dropped if it continues to make my skin crawl this badly. It’s nothing against the creators. It’s just a clash with me personally.
New episodes every Sunday morning

sweetnessSweetness & Lightening
Story:
Kohei is a single father of a very energetic little girl who loves food. Unfortunately his own cooking skills aren’t the best. Enter one of his own students, Kotori, who offers to learn how to cook alongside him and his daughter.
Flavor:
Sweet. This show is almost too sugary, but due to the serious background of Kohei’s wife having recently passed away, the sweetness is not only balanced, but very welcome. The show, so far, hasn’t gotten too dark or serious and it fits considering how a preschooler is one of the leads. As someone who has worked with that age group on and off for years, I find this show pretty accurate and actually a pleasant experience overall. So long as no unnecessary drama pops up, this could be a good one.
New episodes every Monday morning

tabooTaboo Tattoo
Story:
When Seigi saves a seemingly homeless man from some street thugs, he gets a strange “tattoo” as a reward. Little does he realize that what is etched onto his hand unlocks incredible, and very dangerous, power.
Flavor:
Sour. And I don’t mean the good sour candy I can eat in one sitting, I mean that off brand stuff from the dollar store that looks sketchy as hell. This show has a very high violence level and more than a few indecent fanservice scenes in only the first two episodes. I have a bad feeling that, although the plot is getting some political intrigue that could shake things up nicely, this show might be either a drop or WZ-ed for the blood and sexual situations. A shame as, while the set up is dull enough, the world showed some promise.
New episodes every Monday morning

amanchuAmanchu!
Story:
Futaba Oki has just moved to a small seaside town and her timid nature makes it hard for her to make friends. Luckily she’s sitting right next to one of the town’s most outgoing girls, who also just so happens to be a scuba nerd.
Flavor:
Home cooked. This show, so far, doesn’t put anything new or strange on the table, but what’s there is cooked well. It’s nothing to rave about, the characters are pretty standard and the plot is mostly shy girl gains a friend, so there’s little going on. That said, it fulfills its goal as a show well and doesn’t seem to be trying to be what it isn’t. This is a slice-of-life that’s perfectly content remaining so.
New episodes every Friday morning

alderaminAlderamin on the Sky
Story:
Iwata Soroku is a lazy genius who hates war. Unfortunately for him, when a princess sneaks onto his ship everything gets far more complicated.
Flavor:
Spiced. This show was actually far better than I expected. At least, thus far. The world is fully built and the politics sound. The personalities are pretty believable as well. The real question will be if character progression will be constant or if it will dissolve into the usual button-masher like storylines common in these kinds of shows (see Arslan for what I mean).
New episodes every Friday morning

QualideaQualidea Code
Story:
When the world is attacked by Unknowns, children are kept in a cold sleep for a time in the future when things become stable. Years later they are awoken to find they now have powers to assist them in keeping their fragile world safe.
Flavor:
Decent, but not the freshest ingredients. While the music is pretty good in this show, as well as the animation, the characters themselves are pretty common stereotypes. In this show’s defense, at least the dialog flows well despite having such a routine cast. Even so, the entire idea is so overdone that this show is going to have a hard time making a name for itself. Especially when it resorts to getting all the girls in bikinis as soon as the second episode. That’s not a good sign for a show.
New episodes every Saturday morning

b-projectB-Project
Story:
Sumisora Tsubasa recently landed a job as a new A&R for a music studio. Her job may prove to be quite the effort as she is managing three different boy bands back-to-back.
Flavor:
Bland. This is a pretty stereotypical shoujo title. So far there’s little unique about this, although the setup makes that rather obvious, honestly. Especially as the heroine knows next to nothing about music. These kind of setups, where the heroine is a well-meaning, but clueless person, are obnoxious because they keep the “heroine” from being, well, a hero character. They’re never “good” at much of anything besides being positive. I find that demeaning. Girls can be super good at things. We can be better at them than guys. Please, anime creators, give me a heroine who is an expert in her field. PLEASE!
Well, yes, anyway, if I get too busy this will end up as a drop, but seeing as it’s just bland and not super offensive, it’ll stick around. For now.
New episodes every Saturday morning

AngeAnge Vierge
Story:
Magic girls good. Aliens bad.
Flavor:
Garbage. This show is so much crap. In addition to the first five minutes having more clichés and stereotypes than some shows have in their entire run, the rest of the episode is spent with the – entirely female – cast being BUTT FREAKIN’ NAKED. If this show doesn’t get tagged correctly (which it probably won’t since it’s on Crunchyroll), I might make a WZ for it just for anyone trying to look it up later. But, yeah, this show is garbage and it has been dropped and I may be a wee bit upset at the fact that this turd got funded and I’m still waiting on the next season of Yona of the Dawn.
Who cares when new episodes show up cause this show is craaaaaap 

hitorinoshitaHitorinoshita – The Outcast
Story:
Something about the dead rising again and people having supernatural abilities.
Flavor:
Slimy. While I can see that someone had some good ideas as to an intriguing story, they used a real mish-mash of ingredients and it makes for a rather gross taste. The story starts out convoluted as names and places are thrown around willy-nilly as if the audience should already know them. The dialog is stiff and awkward, as is the supposed “comic relief,” which just feels forced and out of place. Then there’s the animation. Good lord. At times it seems high quality, but the quality randomly drops to a very messy, incomplete level. I have a feeling time restraints, budget and a bad mix of very different animation studios is the culprit here. In some cases the frames don’t even match up. For example, in one scene the lead looks to one side, but there’s nothing there. A jump later and he’s looking at the opposite side where there’s a dead body. So, in other words, the close up cut made the eyes go the wrong way. Considering how bad just one episode was on all of this, I have no desire to see any more. This show has been soundly dropped.
New episodes every Saturday morning. Though it hardly matters as this is another drop.

So I started out with a solid ten shows and here we are, only one to two episodes in, and only eight shows are left on my list, with far fewer than that getting good marks. Time will tell how long they stick around…
What are y’all watching this season? Run into anything good thus far? What do you think of these shows?

 

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless Review

6cac61dbcac2a34236bc9bfca682c79d1459875436_largeStory:
Tanaka’s greatest goal in life is to be lazy. Napping is his favorite pastime, daydreaming a sport. School, friends and his sister, however, can sometimes make being listless a bit difficult.

Violence:
Besides slap stick and fake dead bodies in a high school haunted house, nothing too bad in this. Very tame.

Language:
Another tame section. A few d-mns and sh-ts, but very little.

Nudity:
Besides seeing a few characters in swimsuits, nothing to report.

Theology/mythology:
There’s a haunted house, Tanaka praying at a temple to always be able to be listless and even mentions of casting spells to retain a seating arrangement at school, but all are in comedy situations, so unless you are hyper sensitive, this section won’t be any issue for you.

Personal impression:
Say what you will about the number of laid-back shows this last season, but this one sure earned its title. In fact, there’s really little else to this besides, well, Tanaka being listless. If you really wanted to stretch it, you could say there is a little, itty-bitty amount character development for one or two characters. But, honestly, it’s so small I don’t really count it.
This isn’t to say this show was horrible. By no means. It was, after all, pleasant. I even cracked a smile here and there. That said, this series is slow going and has less plot than a Seinfeld episode. Also, what humor there is, also takes up the tone of the title: listless. Not that the jokes were made in a lazy fashion, parse. It’s just that the “punchlines” kinda… float to you. Slowly. Softly. If you’re used to the more quick hit comedies of anime (like Azumanga Daioh or My Ordinary Life), you might feel a bit bored with this show.
Overall, it was good at what it set itself up to be. The art and music also keep to the lazy, floating feeling and if that’s what helps you relax after a stressful day, this show is an answer to prayer. Just don’t go looking to this one for heavy parodies or quick jabs of laughter. It’s far too easy-going for that.

Personal rating: 10 +

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: PG
Genre: Slice of life, comedy
Company: Shochiku
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Snow White with the Red Hair Review

swr_keyartStory:
Shirayuki’s bright red hair is both a blessing and a curse. When it draws the eye of a spoiled prince intent on forcing her into marriage, she takes it as a sign to run away from her homeland and apply as a court herbalist in a neighboring kingdom.

Violence:
Kidnapping attempts and assassination attempts are often the only ways in which violence comes up in this show. Thankfully it’s not overly common and usually very little blood is shown.

Language:
Rather tame overall. A few d-mns and b-words, but rare.

Nudity:
We’re spared from anything besides some shirtless scenes for the guys and the occasional bath scene with the girls, which is, thankfully, tastefully handled overall.

Theology/mythology:
We don’t really get much sense of there being any religions in this show.

Personal impression:
I actually really enjoyed this show. Despite the fact that the action is quite tame throughout, this series boasts a rather sweet and very healthy couple. Unlike my romances in anime where a girl’s goals seem to become secondary to being with their male counterparts, this show keeps its characters moving towards their own goals continuously. Both leads respect each others personal dreams and don’t let their growing relationship interfere with said dreams. In fact, they often try their best to support one another’s goals. An element that was beyond refreshing to watch, especially when so many romances in anime are heavily problematic if not downright destructive (see Wolf Girl).
As far as music and art goes, the show wasn’t anything special. That said, it was usually steady quality and it fit the tone of the show just fine: clean lines, bright and pastel colors and a style that is neither too cutesy nor overly mature. A good middle ground for a show that seems more than fine taking the longer route with the characters’ relationships.
That said, this show’s biggest failing is perhaps in its reluctance to shake up things too much. After two seasons, some pretty heavy story elements were either glossed over or not handled at all, leaving us in essentially the same spot at the end of season two that we were in at the end of season one. While some progress is made, it’s not as much as there could have been and, often, I felt as if the creators were holding back from rocking the boat too much. A shame as many characters were primed for far more development than they actually got.
Overall, however, this was a great show. Solid characters, healthy relationships and some good messages here and there. If you’re fine with the action being a bit more on the tame side, I’d say give this show a go.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 24 (season 1 & 2)
Languages: Sub and Dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, romance, fantasy
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Hulu

The Heroic Legend of Arslan Review

arslan-senki-tv-anime-announced-for-april-5th-visuals-cast-staff-videos-revealedStory:
When Prince Arslan’s father is betrayed and captured by an invading kingdom, the fourteen year old is thrust into the political world early. He must learn what it is to be king as well as what it will take to survive in a war torn kingdom.

Violence:
This show earns it’s TV14 rating in this section alone. The levels are between FMA: Brotherhood and Trinity Blood, so lots of blood gushing, limbs being removed and whatnot. I will mention, however, that unlike the before mentioned shows, this one shows a few animals being badly hurt/killed which, quite frankly, was disturbing for me to watch and might be for you. So be well warned on that.

Language:
Nothing unusual here. Typical sh-ts and d-mns level.

Nudity:
Aside from two female characters that like to show miles of cleavage for no conceivable reason, nothing to report.

Theology/mythology:
Differences in religion between various kingdoms is actually a major plot element of this show. And because some of the religions closely resemble some of our own, I have little doubt this bit will be rather uncomfortable for some viewers. Especially as one particular nation uses its “one god only” religion as an excuse to mass murder “unbelievers.” If this topic makes you uneasy, you’ll want to skip this show as this theme is unavoidable.

Personal impression:
I was quite impressed with this show at its beginning and even enjoyed it for awhile. However, as the show progressed, certain clichés began to pop up, especially concerning the female cast, which was rather small to begin with. The clichés were ones I personally find to be the most obnoxious and thus they pretty much ruined the show for me. Three of the worst offenders (all embodied in female characters) were: the very experienced priestess-warrior who wears almost no clothing for no reason, the immature entailed brat who fancies an older character who does not fancy her back, and the self-righteous tsundere character. Aside from the silent queen, these where the only female characters and you can imagine just how quickly I grew tired of them.
In comparison, the male cast wasn’t too bad. That said, there wasn’t nearly as much character growth as I had hoped for in the beginning, and, thus, I was largely disappointed.
As far as music and art goes, it was pretty good, actually. Although, the CGI that was used frequently in the large fight scenes to manipulate all the horses wasn’t always the same quality (you could definitely tell when budgeting/time was tight for production based on how smoothly the horses moved in the episode).
Overall, I think this show was decent for what it was: an action adventure. But if you want more actual development, not to mention better characters, turn to Yona of the Dawn or Snow White with Red Hair (I just realized that I didn’t review that one?! So sorry! That’ll be next week!). Or, if that’s not enough action for you, FMA: Brotherhood, Black Cat or Trinity Blood. 
Oh and just to give a heads up, there should be another season slated soon, which I will review in the future as this season answers very few questions in its run. Hopefully we’ll get some more development in this coming season, too. As it stands, this show is ok, but nothing to write home about.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 25 (+ one recap only episode)
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fantasy, adventure
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Hulu