Saturday, June 13, 2015

In Defense of: Hestia [Danmachi]

How A Blue Ribbon Destroyed A Character's Reputation.

Let's talk about Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka (a.k.a. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?), but most just shorten it to "Danmachi". More specifically, let's talk about how people have reacted to this series and one of the main female leads, Hestia.

If, by chance, you have not been watching this series, please drop what you're doing and go do so. Anyone who loves watching anime and games meet in a beautiful fusion will love this series. That might not be the best definition to sum up the series, but you should have a general sense of what the episode is like after the first episode.

Now, on to the main topic (possible spoilers ahead). As many of you know, one of the main female leads of this series is a young-looking goddess named Hestia. She's energetic, cheerful, and all-around a fun character to watch interact with both gods and humans alike. To me, she's never crossed the line into being categorized as annoying, even when she's being supremely overprotective, clingy, or jealous of the main character, Bell. She might toe the line, but more often than not, she's getting a good laugh out of me.

Here's the thing: People hate Hestia. No, no no. You don't understand.

They. HATE. Her.

Why? In a word: Overexposure.

Somehow, for whatever reason, fans went nuts over Hestia's outfit. Between cosplayers, fan art, and the sudden urge to put blue ribbons on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, people just started pumping out Hestia-related material in droves, over-saturating the anime fandom into... well... getting sick of seeing her. While the character herself isn't annoying and the anime itself is fine, people just got tired of seeing that blue ribbon (and most often the entire outfit) put on everyone and everything.

That's it. That's all the reason that was needed to turn against a character, and in some cases the entire series.

While I understand how excessive fan obsession can turn people against the object of that obsession, I think it's a better to keep a clear mind about these types of things. Don't let your perception of a series or character be tainted by overexposure, especially the overexposure of something as silly as a blue ribbon.

If you do, you might just miss out on a really great anime, and that's not something I'd wish on any fan.

...Though sometimes it might not be too bad of an idea to tell some of these fans to stop...

...Just... stop...

It's been a while...

Well, it's been a while.

Okay, I've been got nearly two years. It wasn't expected for sure, and a massive amount of things happened within that time frame, but first let me explain my prolonged absence.

 Why I left:

You see, everything came crashing down in a short period of time- massively- in early 2013 and just kept rolling downhill from there.

I was just finishing up the finale of Vividred Operation's review when I got the call that my mother passed away. I did what I needed to do to say goodbye and continued with my life, never slowing down on the hectic review schedule.

I kept working.

It was less than a few months later that my girlfriend left me. Well, by that time, she was no longer someone I could consider a girlfriend. We parted ways and I was better off for it... for a while. Loneliness began to set in before long.

I kept working.

I continued about my job, which had picked up hours and continued reviewing around 10 episodes a week, adding videos into the mix in a gamble to maybe boost the site's popularity (it was fun, even if a bit embarrassing).

Eventually, I stopped being able to push myself as I had been and decided to take a short break. I couldn't even tell you what my breaking point was anymore, but I just found myself burnt out to the point I stopped having fun. My hobby became work, and I was already working full time shifts, so it became more like I had two jobs and one of them didn't even pay.

I might have been back sooner, but the moment my Blip channel was deleted (without warning, I might add), I lost any momentum of returning. I just didn't have the prospects to keep writing, even at the minimal amounts ("Fat-Free Reviews") I had been doing beforehand. I was still being overwork and underpaid  (and I still am now, but at least to a lesser extent).

I began to focus on just watching and enjoying series, and even eventually broke my rule of "Watch a series to the end, even if it's horrible". I'm working on a more professional writing career currently (still rough around the edges, but I have a good story concept and endearing characters), but I continue watching anime because, well... I love it.

I love anime. It makes me happy. It always has, and that's why I'm an otaku.

So why the sudden return instead of just letting this blog sit in purgatory?

Why I've returned:

Well, before you get too excited, I'm not coming back in the capacity I once was. Reviewing every episode of 8+ or even 12+ series is a ridiculous notion for anyone that also has bills to pay. It's just not possible.

However, as I said, I love anime... which is why I needed to come back. I need to talk some sense into a lot of the people calling themselves fans of anime, yet denigrate the very thing they claim to love... and each other... and themselves. You could argue that anime fans have always had that kind of humor where we make fun of ourselves and the series we like because it's all in good nature, but I've not felt that "good nature" in quite some time.

It's all been very bitter lately. It hurts to watch.

If put on the spot, I'm not sure I could name the exact cause of the tonal shift. My best guess would be the sudden influx of new anime fans over the past few years. It's a wonderful subculture, and it's easy to get lured into, but with that will often come (especially for younger fans) a tendency towards overly romanticized Japanaphilia (I don't think that's an actual word) and even a bit of chuunibyou-like symptoms. Naturally, these strong feelings of pro-Japan and pro-anime love will settle into a more normal affection over time, but until then, many of these fans can be a little... annoying.

Full disclosure: To this day, most anime fans still would love to visit Japan for various reasons (going to Comiket or Akihabara for starters) and a large percentage (I heard at one point MOST... though that may no longer be the case) of the tourism in Japan was being done by otaku.

Anyway, I got a little off track there, but what I was saying is that these bright-eyed new fans have done is tip the scales a little against the older fans with their loud enthusiasm, making many of the older fans uncomfortable with how the general public might be seeing us... which is weird, because we never seemed to care all that much before. Maybe it has to do with how social media has changed how we view ourselves now that everything is less easy to hide.

I don't know. All I know is that our current state of affairs needs to change. I may not be able to do it single-handedly, but if you read this and agree that we've become unfairly negative towards something we supposedly love, then just do your best not to fall into that way of thinking.

As for me, I'm going to start writing about anime again. Like I said previously, I'm not reviewing like I was, but when I see things of note (good series, characters, concepts) or have a gripe about something (remember my "In defense of" Kill Me Baby's opening theme?), I'll make sure you hear about it. It will more than likely be the latter, but that's fine. Our beloved series and characters need more people defending them and less people calling them "trash" because of some insignificant detail that probably isn't even the fault of the anime itself.

So yes, I'm back... to a lesser extent, and I'm happy to be back. If you read all of that above, thanks. You're awesome. If not, that's fine too. Just know that you'll be seeing some more posts here periodically, but don't expect any videos. At most I might do a Vlog, but that would be on a rare occasion, as I am NOT good without a script!

Thanks for your time, and if you have any questions, the Twitter account has changed. It is now @AnimeTide. Feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts on my above post and expect a new post in the near future. There's a few things I want to talk about, including an "In Defense of", a "Character Review" and a "Retro Review" that I've been itching to talk about for weeks.

Hopefully, I'll be Keeping You Current just like before.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Anime Tide of Hiatus

Anime Tide will be going on a hiatus for an undetermined period time due to some unfortunate, unforeseeable circumstances suddenly popping up.

We've had a lot of fun doing this and hope to get started again as soon as possible! Thank you for your understanding, and please keep us in your thoughts.

The twitter account for Anime Tide (@Nick5x) will remain active, so feel free to say hello.

Thank you to our readers who have supported us. You guys are the best! <3

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (Watamote) Episode 11 - Fat-Free Review!

Fuck! It got me! Right in the heart!!!
[Fat-Free Review!]
  1. Ugh! More bitching and complaining from Tomoko as usual.
  2. Oh! She actually offers to help. It's for the wrong reasons, yes, but it's a start!
  3. Hmm... Tomoko goes about doing school work in the same manner I go about doing my job. Milk the system, Tomoko!
  4. She gets a little too upset when people come to help her out and ends up cutting herself, just as the cosplay outfits are brought in. I wonder if she even had a chance of wearing one...
  5. The culture festival chairman... uh... person is a really really good girl!!!
  6. Tomoko is still a first year??? I thought after Summer was the start of the new year! Huh... Guess not.
  7. K-ON! has forever altered the expectations of what a light music club should be.
  8. No matter where Tomoko goes, it seems that culture festival representative person is there, always smiling and looking out for her. SUCH A GOOD GIRL!!!
  9. I was expecting Tomoko to try on an outfit for the cafe in the classroom and get caught. Instead, she goes out and buys one so she can wear it, take a picture, and brag about it to Yuu! That girl sure has an odd pattern of thought!
  10. Yuu informs Tomoko that she'll come watch her in the cafe, but as Tomoko was fibbing about her involvement, she's understandably worried.
  11. The first day of the festival doesn't go too well for Tomoko, as she mostly throws up some bad takoyaki (squid balls), and generally just has a mediocre day otherwise.
  12. The next day, Yuu arrives, and gives Tomoko a hug, which puts Tomoko's sex drive into high gear nearly gets Yuu groped since Tomoko has a huge girl crush on her and is a pervert to boot!
  13. It's sad that all Tomoko wants from Yuu is another hug. It just shows how lonely she feels, while still making a strong case for her girl-crush on Yuu.
  14. Unfortunately, neither a haunted house nor buying her food gets the expected reaction, so Tomoko goes without her hug.
  15. Still, she has a good time, and it's a genuinely sad moment when Yuu parts ways with her. It's really painful to watch Tomoko say goodbye her only friend in the world once more! T^T
  16. Finally, Tomoko gets the boost (and the much-needed hug) she's been wanting when the culture festival representative sees she's feeling really down and disguises herself in a mascot suit just to cheer her up. SUCH A GOOD GIIIIIIIIIIIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was a very good episode of Watamote without a doubt. It really does feel like the series is coming to a close, and that maybe Tomoko will actually find some sort of lasting happiness in the end. Of course, if they deviate from this sudden change of pace, I will be exponentially pissed! To have a series end with this girl whose seen nothing but pain and loneliness continue on in the same manner would not only be heartbreaking, it would simply be in bad taste. Has Tomoko come off as whiny, entitled, and downright unlikeable? Yes, she has! Still, for all her faults, I can still see the good in her, and I want that part to shine brightly and for her to find happiness. If this series decides that that is too much to ask, then I can say the same about giving it any kind of positive review or recommendation.

[Copyright to: Square Enix, Silver Link, Sentai Filmworks, Watamote Production Committee, Nico Tanigawa]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun 2nd Season Episode 11 - Fat-Free Review!

Appropriate reaction? YES!
[Fat-Free Review!]
  1. Ao can just change his eye back like that? Why did he even need to take Kohaku's eye then?!
  2. I'm not sure why they have the scene of Shino noticing Sousuke acting oddly due to his blind eye if they later have to spell it out to him.
  3. Shinobu is cute, but that giant furry eyeball thing... not so much.
  4. I love how the group sits back and just imagines what in the world they would wish for, and it's all almost exactly what you'd think they would.
  5. OH GOD! A literal third eye on Daikaku is horrifying! It's got a cool power, though.
  6. Keno is nice enough to let Shino in on what pretty much everyone else is already keen to.
  7. Riou just randomly throws in a story of another princess that could awaken when the eight beads are brought together, despite this not being part of the legend, and even he isn't able to explain why he thinks this princess would awaken instead of the one that relates directly to the legend. That's... just so weird and out of left field.
  8. Also, the bead recognizes Ao as its rightful owner, and Sousuke has been fully abandoned!
  9. Shino actually thinks of a clever way to keep Sousuke from lying about his ailment, tossing an object to Sousuke's left side into his blind spot.
  10. Aww... They have a little fight. How cute!
  11. Apparently, "hibernation" is a taboo word to a Snake Goddess.
  12. I hope Ayase gets to go out a bit soon. She's such an underplayed character, and I'd love to have her given more screen time.
  13. I don't see why Kaname has such a problem with the church leader, Fenegan. He seems easy enough to get along with... until the end of his visit when he mentioned Shino's mother and makes him pass out. Other than that, a great house guest!
  14. So Shino finds out that the blond-haired guy that taught him the (wrong words to) the song was Riou. That means there's some connection to Riou and Shino's past, so- Oh. Nevermind. Shino just lets him go without further questioning him. How... idiotic.
  15. And Sousuke finally passes out! I'm starting to feel somewhat doubtful we'll get a full climax in the next two episodes, though.

Well, this was a pretty slow episode for Hakkenden. As it is getting so close to the finale, I was expecting things to begin coming together, possibly wrapping up a lot of loose ends. Instead, we really just seemed to be wasting time. As much as I love Ayase getting screen time, we have a bigger story to focus on. Speaking of which, Sousuke losing his strength has been a long time coming, but what was with all the talk of a different princess? Yes, I know it will actually play a part in the story, but there was honestly no reason to bring it up. Seriously! Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what these last two episodes can pull out before rushing to any sort of judgement. Let's hope for the best!

[Copyright to: Bandai Visual, Studio Deen, Sentai Filmworks, Miyuki Abe, Kadokawa Shoten]

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (The World God Only Knows - Goddess Arc) Episode 10 - Fat-Free Review!

Chihiro: The Destroyer of the Earth!
[Fat-Free Review!]
  1. Vintage has English-speakers in the higher-ups? That's... interesting. Multicultural devils!
  2. You know, I don't recall Ayumi being so... well-endowed.
  3. The entirety of the bathroom scene is pretty hilarious. Katsuragi is a lucky bastard!
  4. I love the idea of Nora sneaking into Ayumi's house to get her panties for Katsuragi. It just seems so odd, but at the same time, it's the funniest image!
  5. I don't think anyone has properly explained the situation to Chihiro yet. It might do you guys some good to fill her in. I'm just sayin'.
  6. The thought of Katsuragi playing games at the park as a kid seems to fit pretty well.
  7. Vintage is on top of things tonight. Katsuragi can't catch a break!
  8. Even the girl with the box cutter is there! ...I kind of wish she'd use it already. It's just an idle threat until we see her cut someone, you know?
  9. Chihiro helps Katsuragi get some shelter from Vintage, but then... decides to doom the world!!!
  10. Seriously, Chihiro, I know you're pissed off, and it would have been nice if someone explained things to you, but you understand that this might not be the best time, right?!
  11. What's worse is that Chihiro is later saying "Oh yeah. I was totally helping him out by taking myself out of the equation!" Bullshit!!! You just got mad and said what you felt!
  12. If the writing here was competent, Ayumi would in no way fall for Katsuragi's words at this point. She's been well informed that he's lying to her and playing a game with her. There's no reason for her to even consider his love anymore!
  13. Of course, Ayumi easily forgets everything that Chihiro just said, and tells Katsuragi that she is serious about him, but that if he's serious about her, he would marry her.
  14. Naturally, Katsuragi is not the type to back down from such a challenge, and agrees, freaking Ayumi out.
  15. Ha! The meeting with the parents part is priceless, though! They seem to be taking turn catching each other off guard.
  16. Ayumi is going to have a hell of a time explaining this to her parents the next day.
  17. Ayumi agrees to marry Katsuragi if he says he loves her in juuuuust the right way... which he can't.
  18. Nora! NOO- Oh. Wait. She's okay.
  19. Haqua stays to fend off the girl with the box cutter while Katsuragi and Chihiro go invisible and chase after Ayumi. Actually, I was just joking earlier about her actually using the box cutter. She can just... not do that.
  20. And Ayumi waits for a romantic marriage proposal... or something.

I was really on board with this episode of TWGOK, even after the incident with Chihiro. She wasn't really filled in on the situation and was still mad at Katsuragi. That's fine. I understand. What gets me is that they played it off as her being a cunning person who was still actively helping. Now that's a load of crap! What hurt the episode even more was that Ayumi is now given proof of Katsuragi being a scumbag (in her eyes) that had no real feelings for her, and yet she still falls for his lies!!! Don't play Ayumi off as an idiot! That pisses me off!

[Copyright to: TV Tokyo, Geneon Universal Entertainment, Manglobe, Sentai Filmworks, Shogakukan, Tamiki Wakaki]

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) Episode 23 - Fat-Free Review!

I am shocked to my very- HAHAHA! Just kidding.
[Fat-Free Review!]
  1. Vague mentions of Annie's father again. He's going going to play a big role later, isn't he?
  2. Oh no! They let the Wallists walk the streets like normal people!
  3. They're introducing more people. Anyone that gets introduced generally dies, so... good luck!
  4. That one guys looks like Narukami from Persona 4. I'm not the only one that sees it, right? ...Right?!
  5. Wow. Considering how important their mission turns out to be, the fact that the officer in charge of their escort just passes off the responsibility doesn't seem right at all.
  6. Ah~ The bright-eyed upstart about to be shown life's tough lessons first-hand. It's always a sad sight.
  7. Annie would have Eren on the brain!
  8. If you see two soldiers selling goods on the black market, I'm pretty confident that as the leader of your group, you can promptly order the group to arrest those men at gunpoint. I don't think anyone would complain.
  9. He gets his ass beat and Annie has to save him. What's worse is that she offers to help him bring those guys to justice (or murder them- I'm not sure), and he refuses! What a coward (or ethical guy)!
  10. Armin is actively working on breaking the law without a solid plan. Can you hear that? Warning bells! ALL the warming bells!
  11. So, um... What if Annie said, "No, I won't help you, Armin"? The plan just kind of falls apart? I'm not referring to Armin's plan. I mean the plan.
  12. So, by Annie showing she is a good person, that makes her a huge suspect???
  13. Jean totally does look like Eren!
  14. I like how Annie being afraid of small, enclosed spaces means the theory that she is the female titan is correct. Yup. There's no other possible reason that someone might be afraid of that type of thing!
  15. The sad thing is, they very literally tell her, "Listen, if you don't come down here right now, you're fucked" and she still refuses!
  16. Oh wow. Annie's laugh is fucking scary!
  17. Oh wow! They weren't fucking around! They even had people dressed as civilians ready to pounce her!
  18. And BOOM! We are in for one hell of a showdown! Ah~! Annie, why did you have to kill so many people?! When they catch you, you're so fucked! Annie, why?!?! T^T

This was a really good episode Shingeki no Kyojin, though you could argue the beginning dragged a bit. I would say that it was a good way to set up the other characters and remind us of who Annie is and how she behaves. It adds that much more of a mystery to why she is the female titan. I really am stuck on any sort of theory as to why she would have done all of this, and that's great! The mystery is what makes this so fun! I can't wait until next episode to see what happens when Annie no longer has a place to run or hide. I'm actually pretty worried because I like Annie! This is scary for me!

[Copyright to: Hajime Isayama, Kodansha, Yasuko Kobayashi, Wit Studio, Production I.G, Mainichi Broadcasting, Pony Canyon, Shingeki no Kyojin Team]