momentum, the force is out there edition

Rollin’ on through.



What I find funny is that for hundreds upon hundreds of anime, we have been exposed to some of the worst parents ever. Most just leave their kids alone in a tiny apartment, some parents may be dead, and others use their kids for nefarious means in a scheme to reboot humanity. Ryou Machiko’s parents in Koufuku Graffiti basically abandoned her to live alone as a middle schooler. Taiga Aisaka’s parents left her in an empty apartment. Mikado Ryuugamine’s parents left him in Ikebukuro to fend for himself in a city filled with murderers. Ui’s and Yui’s parents who are never home because they are too busy fucking around the world (I mean, they are home for one episode)? Kayo Hinazuki’s mom? Tomoya’s dad? Asuna’s parents who tried to arrange a marriage for her? None of the Iron-Blooded Orphans have parents. And the poster parent for anime parenting: Gendo Ikari. A normal supportive parental duo? I mean, are there examples other than Sanae and Akio Furukawa? So it is jarring to see a supportive mom in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi. She understands her son. She listens to her son. She supports her son. She tries to cheer up her son. She is such a normal mom that it becomes an anomaly in anime.

Yet, except when a parent is a plot point, they are mostly absent in anime. I stopped tracking parents in thin slicing because the answer is almost always: they abandoned their kid, they are dead, or the anime pretends parents do not exist (how most magic high school shows do it). This concept to me is a bit weird as Japan is more about lineage and what family you came from than in America. We are constantly told in this fact in all the class wars anime.

Why do I bring up parents? Because I wanted to write about The Force Awakens. Parents are important in Star Wars. It is important to know who Luke’s parents are. It is important to know who Kylo Ren’s parents are. It is, by association, important to know who Rey’s parents are. (Poor Finn, he is the classic anime protagonist whose parents might as well be bunny phantoms.) Or is it? There are dozens of theories as to who Rey’s parents are, and, for a while, it briefly topped whose Jon Snow’s parents are (obviously Jon Snow’s parents are Ned Stark and Jessica Rabbit). But why does it matter? What if Rey’s parents are the same as Ryou Machiko’s and Mikado Ryuugamine’s and Taiga Aisaka’s? Does it matter? Why are parents basically the abandoned character set (or in RPG terms the least played class) in anime? Parents and children are natural conflict points, yet natural story points too. In a market flooded with stories about magic high schools where the male lead stumbles into the female lead’s bosom, wouldn’t a story featuring the dynamics around parents and their children make sense? Maybe it’s just crazy talk. Maybe it’s like making an anime about rakugo in 2016. Who would watch an anime about those fossils?


Fumitan Admoss

Iron Blooded Orphans cannot decide what kind of show it wants to be, and it is a shame. It is manufacturing and killing off too many unimportant characters that if it had to kill off an important character, it would not seem as impactful. Also, we know who is dying next based on who gets a flashback/backstory episode right before they die– that is probably the laziest writing possible. A good writer will make you invested in a character and kill him/her off unexpectedly at the right moment. The moment they used to kill off Fumitan Admoss? So silly. If Kudelia had an ounce of common sense in her (which she apparently does not), she would not have gone after Fumitan in the first place. “Hey, there’s a revolt going on… I’m going to get in the middle of it!”

Also worth noting we are at the twentieth anniversary of Gundam Wing. I think one difference since Gundam Wing is that the focus of Gundam has shifted from the giant robot being the star to the pilots and humans being the star. I’m not sure if a 25-50 episode TV series should be centered on anything except the giant robot. For a limited OVA, maybe it makes sense to tell a compact character story like War in the Pocket, but for a long 50 episode space opera? How do you write a 50 episode character story without bogging it down and filling it up with crap? I want the motherfucking Gundams to the star. Sometimes, Sunrise just needs to remember that they are trying to sell toys, and the best way to do that is make the Gundams the central figures… and why not? What other mecha show could do that? What are the lasting impacts of Gundam Wing? All five designs are classics, even Sandrock. They felt powerful. They felt like a part of the plot, especially at the end when Heero and Zecks inexplicably swap robots. For Iron Blooded Orphans, Barbatos Gundam feels like a background character now, not the visceral mecha that started the series.



The best part of Haruchika is just how terribly written it is. It is astonishing how bad the mysteries are, and how many leaps of faiths we need to jump through to solve the mysteries. To recap:

Episode 1: I touched on this one in the thin slicing. We need to take a leap of faith that something weird happens, a bunch of high school students with app phones do not take a picture of it for five days and finally take a picture of it with 15 minutes left on the deadline to solve it, and Haru somehow knows every detail of Edgar Allen Poe’s life, including the year he wrote every work. Another leap also comes that a crazy ex-student declares their love for Kusakabe-sensei, and there is no other stalking attempt. None. The ex-student just chills and goes away.

Episode 2: In order to solve the mystery, Haru somehow knew the origins and inventors of all these obscure puzzles. Okay, let’s take one leap to assume a high school brass band student would know this stuff. (Keep in mind, Haru does not have a cell phone at this point, so he is not secretly Wikipediaing in the bathroom and pretending to know it.) The second leap of faith comes from somehow Haru managing to plan the day exactly down to the second to where the paint will peel off the puzzle cube. The paint solvent takes hours to work, yet it manages to peel off just when it needed to peel off. Just for added fun, somehow Kusakabe-sensei is around to witness the final act. Because he has to be around.

Episode 3: My favorite leaps of faiths occurs here. I admit the fact Haru can write a play in an evening and have everyone memorize it in a single reading is amazing, but it also seems highly improbable at the same time. The big leap of faith involves Maren’s PTSD involving his adoption– he only knows which city his birth parents are from and the combination to a suitcase his birth parents gave him. Somehow, Haru manages to figure out both the city and the combination and manages to steal the suitcase without Maren knowing. It is astonishing no one wondered, “Wait, how the fuck did you know?” It is like when Shu declared martial law in Guilty Crown and no one wondered, “Wait, when did you become a Nazi?” The play was also on Saturday, yet Kusakabe-sensei was there.

Episode 4: I have no clue how Haru and his sister managed to find the coin slot when the family living in the apartment never noticed it. I guess that is the power of a class 1 architect. I am not a class 1 architect, but I would suspect that drywall would not be enough to contain the load of all the coins. Haru managed to figure out the mystery just as Christmas dinner was starting, leaving Maren’s parents with roughly 300 pounds of friend chicken. I also like how Haru and Chika dragged out the entire brass band plus Kusakabe-sensei at a moment’s notice to witness the 500 yen miracle. On Christmas evening. And Haru still does not have cell phone.

Haruchika is the trainwreck mystery anime we did not ask for, we did not think we need, but I am enjoying because of how bad it is. Remember, I do consider Mai Hime and Code Geass two of the most fun and enjoyable anime out there, and I think Haruchika is a tier lower than that but higher than Guilty Crown. There is also at least one argument between Haru and Chika in every episode reminding us that Haru is gay and both Haru and Chika want to ride Kusakabe-sensei’s wild stallion. If we have Haru table-humping while thinking of sensei… well…

Kusakabe-sensei is a reject from America kinda like Kenny from Girls Step, an underrated Japanese film from 2015 about a high school dance team experiencing life events. The movie is cheesy as hell, the dancing is horrible, but Kenny’s “New York” dance sequences are as great as Matsushita Yuya’s in his video for Trust Me (sadly all taken down on YouTube). Girls Step felt like it could have been an anime, if it didn’t feature sex and sex topics since no anime watcher wants to hear about sex… only male protagonists colliding into the boobs of a female protagonist.

Speaking of bad detectives, Mulder and Scully are back! I grew up on The X-Files. I used to have X-Files watching parties on Friday nights in my dorm room. I have attended X-Files viewing marathons, and I even won an X-Files trivia contest (which earned me a coffee mug that I still use to this day). Let me tell you two things about The X-Files: One, it does not work without Mulder and Scully. The X-Files is not Star Wars where we can go through generations or multiple casts. The main draw is the dynamic between Mulder and Scully, which is still the best duo dynamic in television. On a scale from 1 to Mulder and Scully, Haru and Chika would be a 0.5. Fox tried to run The X-Files without Mulder and Scully, and it was about as fun as watching the 2016 LA Lakers. Two, the best episodes are the wacky ones. I actually hate the “mythology” episodes because Chris Carter is such a piss poor writer for anything that requires continuity. Look at his writing resume. It is a train wreck outside of The X-Files, and that is mostly because James Wong and others do the heavy lifting on the show. Decades later, the episodes that stand out? Home. Small Potatoes. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space. Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. Squeeeeze. That episode that starts with Scully at a gas station, trying to solve a mystery, and spends a lot of the episode talking to Mulder on the phone… except Mulder’s watching porn the entire time. And do you know what happens at the beginning of The X-Files 2016? Chris Carter tries to reboot his mythology like a drunken DC comics editor trying to refresh goddamn Superman for the nth time. “Supes will wear jeans now! I’m a genius!”

I think the worst thing that can happen to The X-Files is to bring it back as a 20 episode series. We have years of proof that The X-Files just runs out of stories to tell. I think the better idea is to do a few episodes each year, much like how Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat approach Sherlock. I also want more wacky episodes– both Ratboy and Channing Tatum just said “Yes!” to guest starring in an episode about a group of male strippers who hypnotize women with their snake penises.

Also, even twenty years ago, I can hardly believe Mulder is physically capable as an FBI agent. And all of the times he got his ass beat in a stairwell further justifies that. Now? I wince whenever Mulder has to exert himself physically. Hank Moody has had one too drinks and smokes. I almost feel like the series needed to introduce a younger FBI agent just because Mulder can’t run and take punches anymore. Though time does improve on a few things… the original series had numerous gaffes because it was filmed in Vancouver. You could see Canadian Bell pay phones all the time, for example. Time has fixed that. Pay phones have gone the way of the dodo. And landmarks are now easily CG’ed in to further the ruses that the show has returned to Vancouver. Then again, a lot of the effects are still cheesy and terrible as before– when the Men in Black blew up the prototype spaceship, that explosion looked like it was from a Japanese drama.


Lupin III

You know what is a fun mystery series airing? Lupin III.


Karasuno’s Defense


(Which is funny since they had an episode where Daichi was awesome, and I was like, “Whelp, that’s a death flag in Iron Blooded Orphans. He’ll probably just get an ankle sprain–“)

(I also like how an anime about a high school volleyball team takes concussions more seriously than the NFL. The NFL! Feel the excitement of a league run by lawyers.)


Space Westerns

When I was writing thin slicing and thinking about what genres are ignored nowadays: the good old space western. Would I like to see a space western slash heist anime? With weird mecha? You betcha. I’m calling it now: space westerns will be the magic high school in 2022. Maybe Star Wars can pick up the popularity of space westerns again, but the genre has been pretty moribund lately. I know! A Gundam space western– kind of like Firefly, except they have Sandrock Gundam for whatever reason.

(I’m also okay if anime studios resurrected the twelve sisters harem genre. I miss that too.)


Dagashi Kashi

Literally the junk food of anime…


Symmetrical Docking

… I’ll have a double double animal style with fries and a chocolate milkshake.

4 Responses to “momentum, the force is out there edition”

  1. Time to return on the year of Horie Yui’s prime and relieve Sister Princess, oh w8 need a revival in 2011 instead save the parents of the trio of sisters and so on.

    Docking should be referred to KonoSuga instead.

  2. +999999999 for Jose Chungs From Outer Space mention.

    Cannot stress this enough

    I watch it at least twice a year, despite never having rerun anything else from the X-files

  3. Always upvote Melfina and Outlaw Star!

  4. The Rey parent’s mystery in Ep. VII was just JJ doing his usual “magic box” at work, and should not be taken seriously (Even better, the whole movie shouldn’t be taken seriously).

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