Fall 2020: Surviving The Junior Year Fire Pits (So Far)
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
When I was getting into anime and when I was really getting into anime, I loved looking around my local library to see what they had on hand. I also made a few requests for them so their anime collection could grow. I first heard about the comedic spin-off of Full Metal Panic through a funny moment compilation on YouTube that had this scene from Episode 2 (it never fails to make me laugh). Why I haven’t been interested in watching anything else from this franchise, I don’t understand. I guess I just wanted to watch something that didn’t require twenty-four episodes to get context. My mind was also in a dark place through much of 2013 thanks to one horror movie, and I felt like I needed to watch things that would make me laugh so I wouldn’t struggle to fall asleep at night.
I only got through eight episodes originally, but when I decided to watch this anime again, I made it my mission to get through everything. I liked how the anime held nothing back in regards to its comedy, the score was super fun, and the scenarios these characters got involved in were pretty hilarious. How was Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu at twenty compared to thirteen?
It wasn’t as good, but I still really liked it. Some of the jokes haven’t aged well. There were too many based in potential sexual harassment that made me a little uncomfortable. The rugby episode, despite having some of my favorite content of the show, could have done better with the opposing team. Making them have darker skin and having a few jokes mocking them for being “gorillas?” Not a good look for 2020, I’m afraid.
Despite that, I still appreciated how the writers held nothing back with their plots for each episode/segment. There were plenty of well-timed jokes, great visual gags, and parts that still made me laugh. The characterization was also good for a comedy series. I’m happy viewers who may not be familiar with Sosuke and Kaname can still see why they work well together, even if it’s only in a spin-off series. Their dynamic is a lot of fun. Kaname calls Sosuke out whenever he goes too far, and given that Sosuke’s been raised in a military environment all his life, I can see why he acts the way he does at school. I was also a big fan of the student council president, who was always in style and went through books and fans so fast.
For Kyoto Animation’s first project, I loved how vivid and fluid the show was. They based their style off of what Gonzo had done previously (the character designer returned, for example) but made the show their own at the same time. The score had lots of colorful moments and added to the show’s comedy when it came on at the right times. I also really liked the voice acting. The seiyuu went in with their characters and helped make bizarre moments come to life. I couldn’t see other actors playing them. They’ve made this cast their own, and for that, I applaud them.
Watching this again made me understand why this is a comedic anime staple. There are so many high points, and even though the show can feel utterly ridiculous in some episodes, it doesn’t care. Although I felt like some of the content was weaker this time around, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to finish Fumoffu in the first place. Full Metal Panic's something I'd like to see more of in the future.
P.S. If you don't want to watch the show, please check out the show's opening and ending by Mikuni Shimokawa. They were SMASHES in 2013, and they still SMASH now.
Namu Amida Butsu! Rendai Utena
My brain always blanks on the full title of this show (probably because it’s long), so to make things easier, I’ll be referring to it as Rendai Utena for the rest of this section. I first saw this show on ANN when details about it were coming out, mistaking it for another sword boy property. In reality, the basis for this franchise is in Buddhism. I'm not familiar with this religion, so I was curious to learn a little more about it. Since Sentai Filmworks holds the main streaming rights for this anime in the States, I was surprised to find Rendai Utena on Crunchyroll. But at the end of the day, I wasn't complaining. Since I can watch Crunchyroll with ads for free and need to subscribe to HIDIVE (I'm interested in trying the free trial at some point, but not now), I decided to make this the last show I saw before classes started for me. Bishounen representatives of Buddhist figures, pretty animation, and the promises of good slice of life content sounded wonderful. After all, who doesn't love putting on anime so you don't waste time staring into space thanks to having an additional week of break?