Beginning Review: Chibi Devi

So the premise of this anime is that a sad, lonely, picked-on 14 year old girl is sad and lonely.  Then she wakes up with a baby in her bed. She is flustered and OMG-ing, but then she puts the baby in a Godzilla-esque ADORABLE costume, goes out and then he lays some vengeful smack down on the pair of bitches that were picking on her.

End ep. 1. I know, right? So it’s a comedy, kinda gag filled and silly.  You know, lighthearted and foolish.  I think it’s pretty funny.  The episodes are really short, 5 minutes each, including the short and hilariously non-verbose opening theme song.  You meet more characters and wacky fire-breathing baby adventures ensue. Personally, I think it’s pretty funny.  The pace is fast fast, which is good for a comedy, and it has to be with such a short episode.

Fair warning – There is a lot of this kind of shot in this show.

The art is SO VERY reminiscent of Daa! Daa! Daa! that I don’t know what to do with myself (other than watch that old ass fun alien baby show again). Overall, the art and animation are not good, but they’re not pull-your-hair-out bad either.  There are definitely moments of *twitching* for me though. Just don’t expect much.  It’s a silly comedy.

Overall, I am enjoying this show as a fun fluffy comedy.  It’s a quick laugh or two and it’s worth the five minutes each episode.  Is it brilliant?  No.  Is it amazing? No.  Will it go down in history? I dunno yet.  But it’s fun and that’s what entertainment is for, yes? Being entertained.

That said, there is something really creeping me out about shy lonely girl’s problems being solved by having a baby.  In real life, having a baby to solve sadness and loneliness is a very bad thing to do, and it is not healthy for babies, but people do it a lot.  Granted, I doubt they’re 14-year-olds, but I have met people who have done this and I have seen a lot of media depictions of this idea and it bothers me.  No good at all, please erase it from the collective culture. Or at least show that it’s actually really bad, and that postpartum depression kills. Being depressed pre-partum is bad too.  But we’ll see how this show plays out, and hope for the best.

Also, If you’re desirous of more baby-antic entertainment, you should watch Beelzebub.  This is also about a demonic baby that shows up and causes antics, but is so very, very shounen (whereas chibi devi is shoujo).  It’s fun to compare and contrast, and Beelzebub is hilarious! I love it.

And check out the classic and wonderful Daa! Daa! Daa! This is a shoujo comedy from forever ago about an alien baby.  So premises similar, so far the antics are kinda similar, and Daa! Daa! Daa! is nostalgic good times for me. Plus, there is a truck load of both shows (30+ Beelzebub and nearly 80 Daa!).

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Review: Gakuen Heaven

Clearly, I am still going through what I call “wall of guys” kinda of anime.  You know, when a show literally has a shot of bishi lined up for the camera like in “The Last Supper.”  Well, Gakuen Heaven certainly falls into that category, with 14 main characters, all bishi and all male. And this isn’t the cute and fluffy BL.  It’s the tall, dark, and handsome sweep you off your adorable feet BL.

The premise of the show is that the main character, Keita, is suddenly accepted into the insanely famous and elite Bell Liberty harem School (otherwise known as BL gakuen, *cough cough, hint hint*).  The school sends out acceptance letters only to famous and elite people who are very good at whatever it is they are good at, so middle-of-the-road, not-so-special-but-adorable-and-lucky Mr. Protagonist is rather confused as to why he gets accepted, and even though he questions his qualifications, transfers in.  In actuality, he got in because the chairman has the hots for himis his childhood boyfriend … gave him a special recommendation and overrode the board of directors. Whether or not he is qualified to attend becomes the driving plot point, eventually culminating between and out-and-out, no holds barred challenge between the corrupt Vice Chairman and the Chairman (he does actually have some amazering lucky luck, and this is sorta given as his special skill that got him in and keeps him in. And I suppose it does count as great luck to have run into the chairman as a young boy and won his heart…).

The cast consists entirely of males, and they’re pretty much all bishi, all slashable with one of the other supporting cast, and all slashable with the main character. At one point the main character even comments on the all-male cast, to which the bishi he’s talking to is like “Oh no, females totally exist! I can introduce some to you” and the protagonist is like, “Oh, there’s no need, k thx.”  To which I snorted loudy in amusement.

There are some of the typical BL tropes in the cast but they actual stood apart for me as moderately unique, especially due to the size of the cast and their unique talents.  It’s no Angelique, but the selection of pairables is pretty extensive.  And the show makes a great many overtures to turn your mind down a dirty dirty BL path.  The first few episodes (before some angsty plot kicks in) start of with salacious sounding dialogue between two mostly off-screen supporting characters, only to pan out and show them doing mundane activities (such as paperwork and patching a leak). Which, honestly, I adored!  It was exactly the note I wanted to start a fluffy show like this on, though I am glad it phased out when the tone of the show changed.  Most of the eye-catches were also meant to titillate.

So taken out of the BL context and appeal,  the show isn’t really anything impressive.  The huge cast of characters doesn’t really allow much characterization and relies heavily on tropes, though some of the individual character’s personalities do manage to shine through rather well.  The plot is mainly exploring the fit of Keita to the school, in order to inevitably hook him up with his main love interest, but never really explains to my satisfaction why he belongs there, whether or not he is actually qualified to be there.  It just sorta was like, well you’re a lucky dude, and look at how happy you make all of these extraordinarily talented bishis! Of course you belong here! The Chairman wants to bang you so bad! The directing wasn’t bad, and did what it could on a the typically low BL budget, but I never really saw anything noteworthy to it either.  The art and animation was similarly restrained by lack of money, so talking stills abound and most of the backgrounds are fairly blase at best. The movement was occasionally awkward and bad, and there are a few shots that are bad enough to deserve a facepalm scattered throughout the show.

It confines all of it’s SD silliness to a very, very poorly animated segment at the end of each episode called Hamu Hamu Heaven (which clearly is because it features chibi hamster versions of the main characters).  I enjoyed them, but I wish they had added a little more to the show, instead of being a silly aside that gave a smidgen of characterization.

Overall, the characters are underdeveloped and the cast massive, the plot totally falls flat when you stop and think about it and the tension of the show is mostly sexual and slashy. however, for the most part the show is interesting to watch and feels unique and distinct from other, similar titles.  I especially love the treasury vs student council dynamic (plus I heart the treasury pairing, so…).  I enjoyed this show, though I didn’t love love it, but I like BL.  If you are into BL, enjoy a moderately silly premise, don’t really want to think to much but aren’t in the mood for one of the fluffy, foolish titles (like Princess Princess), this is a great show to just sit back and enjoy the titillating yet serious BL bishi fun. If not, run, don’t walk, away from this show. It will hurt your thinking parts, and if you have them, your homophobic ones, and it won’t even be cracked out or insane enough for it to be so bad it’s good.

Review: Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shouganai!! (aka, Sukisho)

So, this is a very, very BL 12 episode anime plus a one episode OVA.  They even let you know right off the bat by making the very first scene one where a main male character feels up the other in his sleep. It’s got everything a good daytime drama has: amnesia, split personalities, brainwashing, salacious implications, suspicious suicide attempts, manipulative villainous smexies, mad scientists, ghosts, mini-me, kaitou, costumes… All sorts of fun! A silly, fun show in it’s genre, but it’s REALLY in that genre, so not likely to be enjoyed by anyone who doesn’t like the genre itself.

The main character is Sora, and aside from his amnesia and split personality, he’s just trying to live a normal life.  The main love interest is Nao, who is in a similar boat, but unlike in All My Circuits, he doesn’t have amnesia.  The show then divides it’s time between ridiculous everyday antics, mostly instigated by their mutual friend Matsuri, and following the more serious plot exploring the main duo’s other personalities.

As is typical of BL titles, the production values are clearly not very high, though they are manageable, and not too glaringly awful.  The directing, art and animation are standard, if a bit pastel. The premise is also silly, but takes itself seriously towards the end. The plot is nearly nonexistent, and practically written by monkeys on crack, but it’s fun if you don’t think about it. The main characters hooked up immediately, and then they spend the rest of the show coming together emotionally and mentally, and physically off-camera.  It also has a fair amount of SD comedy silliness, physical comedy,  fanservice, and other Shounen Ai typical tropes.  It even features several BL common and beloved seiyuu! The main character switches between Midorikawa Hikaru and Koyasu Tahehito! Though that joke/pairing is esoteric, so only the genre-savvy are going to get that. As a matter of fact, it is so heavily invested in the tropes and themes of the Shounen Ai/BL genre, that for people who are familiar with the genre it will seems like everyday fare but for people new to the genre, it would probably be pretty overwhelming and nonsensical. Even for the genre-savvy, this show barely makes sense, especially once the angst-plot kicks in.

As is common to the genre, there is slash fodder EVERYWHERE, and the all-male cast gradually pairs off into gay-teams.  You can probably find some canon basis for almost any pairing you might fancy, though this show does have main canon pairings. I ADORE the secret passageway in ep 2! The handcuffs! Shinichirou and Nanami are adorable together, and I enjoy pairing them, though I usually like the adult couples more than the angsty teen ones.  I accept that they don’t make as entertaining TV most times though. Clearly, Yoru is my favorite character, because Yoru has heterochromatic eyes. ^_~  Though in all seriousness, how can you not squeal over a hot math teacher.  Clearly, Math = lounging in a leather jacket! And the next episode dance is adorable!

However, I really don’t like the way the adult characters break down melodramatically towards the end.  It feels OOC and just like a cheap plot ploy.  Though the whole stabbing thing really shows that the show is about the older couple, and their awesomeness, and the younger pair are just the fluffy co-stars.  I’m okay, but not really happy, with the explanation behind the split personalities. In general, the plot kicked in and kinda ruined the fun of this show, and it didn’t have much going for it before that.

So if you like BL, silly fluffy fun, a crazy premise, the occasional sexy action and an end-of-the-show-attack-of-the-angsty-backstory, then this show was fucking made for you. That’s why I liked it.  But if those things aren’t appealing at all to you, this show is not going to be your cup of tea. Best not to even bother with it. It’s mediocre on all fronts, and lacking in originality and coherent, believable plot.

Dog Days: aka an AU anime about an AU Levi Meeuwenberg from Ninja Warrior

There's something... reminiscent of each other... about you two.

Dog days is all about a regular Joe.  Except that the main character is a foreigner (I think?)  living and going to school in japan.  Named Shinku Izumi (thus why I’m not sure he’s actually a foreigner.  Wikipedia tells me he’s half, but the odd mother/father japanese way of parsing which half and whether or not that makes you actually japanese and his resulting citizen status makes me unsure as to how japanese he’s supposed to be).  But he’s also living his normal live and getting ready for school – sans the fact that he has a great love for and impressive parkour skills and leaps off his second floor balcony, and does backwards flips while using the street railings as a balance beam.    He loves it so much that he dreams to his osananajimi girl of winning Ninja Warrior/Sasuke.

So the first thing that struck me in this show was a curiosity about copyright issues when they show the final tower of Ninja Warrior/Sasuke.  But before I could ponder that too thoroughly, what looked like a little bear started stalking the main character with a bejeweled dagger in it’s mouth.  Then I realized it was a dog when it opened up a hole into another dimension…

…and swooshes the protagonist a la Magic Knights Rayearth style to a magical land of enchantment.  Yes. Exactly like Magic Knights Raearth. Not like Kyou Kara Maou as my roommate and the internets have suggested (though Yuri’s voice actor does appear in Dog Days).  He’s not there to rule or have slashy adventures.  Like Fuu, Hikaru and Umi were supposed battle to save the magical kingdom country and restore the balance of the forces in the world, so is our protagonist. But not with mechas.  By winning a silly version of  Ninja Warrior/Sasuke.

Don’t know why the voice of the narrator from Hayate no Gotoku and Cell is a puppy general muscle man.  But he is (Norio Wakamoto as puppy man General Godwin). It is odd. and throws me.  Also, the adorable main character’s seiyuu also was Yagami Light in Death note.  Yes, that too throws me off and throws me hard.  (I’ll take this obstacle course…*pant pant*…. and beat it!)

Don’t know why Koyasu Takehito is on some random panel of apparent nobles or generals discussing war.  But I love Koyasu Takehito and he can do whatever he wants anytime! XD

I’m thrown by the fact that in Dog Days, his Cephiro (the country he was summoned to save) is named  Biscotti. I can accept the Ginyu Force, but at least their names are scramble up food names!  There’s something disarming when they talk of saving Biscotti.

I don’t know why they turn into cat-balls and dog-balls when you hit them, but it does take the potential violence to a silly place and I think I appreciate it.  I’m not sure.  They also draw all the mooks like clones of one male mook, which is both funny and off-putting.

I don’t know why they fly around of fluffy Chocobos. But they do. There are a lot of inexplicable things in this show that makes me wonder about copyright infringement.

Overall, not much in it that seemed wholly original.  The main character’s battle outfit seems standard fantasy game fare.  In fact, I probably couldn’t tell the other characters from those in Utawarerumono, or Tears to Tiara (if there were more anthropomorphic characters), if they were in the background somewhere.  Though the coloring and styling is admittedly more that a little cutesy-er.  It doesn’t deviate much from established tropes and the other shows it seems to be drawing heavily from.

Really, it seems like the staff had watched Levi Meeuwenberg on Ninja Warrior/Sasuke and was so impressed, that they felt the need to make him the star of his own anime. Granted, I too was terribly impressed by Levi Meeuwenberg, and I loved hearing them say his name, so I am going with this premise.  I’m kinda hoping the crazy amalgamation of genres going on is going to be entertaining, but I don’t really have very high hopes. I do think it’s worth watching  and following, though.  There is something I’m enjoying abut the inexplicable cast of voices, the inexplicable combination of ideas and the inexplicable methods of fighting.   Here’s to hoping it’s inexplicably entertaining!