Honey, I’m still watching Kids’ Shows

I still like Kids shows. Not unbearably kiddie shows but shows aimed at male boys with just enough action to keep me hooked. There was a point in everyone’s lives when they decided to put move pass those shows. But I have still not and most likely will not. And it’s always amusing to see what kind of toys they are trying to sell to kids today since you know most of these shows are more or less about ads for mercs. I’m damn proud that Bandai has managed to revive Beyblades. That was the shits when I was a kid and our school managed to keep it off the ban list. I’m not so proud of the Bakugan phenomenon which reminds me of Dungeon Dice Monsters. Only cause I’m disappointed it never took off like the Card Game did. So what are they trying to sell to kids today?

 

Monsuno

Started airing today on Channel Seven, Home of Home and Away and X Factor. At first I thought this was a Japanese anime but it turns out it was a Japanese-American collaboration. The toy itself was thought up by some guy who used to work at the American Toy company mattel.

 

The story is about these gigantic animals powered by crystal energy…and they fight one another. Awesome. Second best part of Animal Documentaries is watching two males go toe-to-toe with each other, usually over a female they want to mate with. Best part of animal documentaries would be the great stories. A cub is born into the world, goes on a long trek, loses his mother, barely survives an attack by the Predators but manages to stay with the herd and continue to the breeding ground. Sadly, we never get to see the Real Heroes; the Predators eat the poor, defenceless cub. Damn.

 

Back to Monsuno. What I got from the plot was that there’s this guy named Chase Suno and he finds out that his dad was the one who created these crystal monsters. He gets his own Crystal beast friend, and is now on and adventure to fight other animals. There’s also two organisations that are fighting over something. Alright, it’s a vague description but bear with me. I came back from work and found this show when 10 minutes of it was already over. Some evil organisation, who we know is obviously evil because we don’t see their faces and they are spying on the MC. And there is the Company with Benevolent Intentions whom Chase’s dad used to work for. And we know they aren’t very good either because they are being run by a woman…with ze German accent. Those damn Secret Nazi corporations should stay away from my work on giant monsters who live in a test tube!

 

Initially I thought this was a poor dub by Americans. Turns out it was aired first in America. So does this mean I water down or fire up with the dub bashing? Other then the Evil German, there’s also the Nerdy Friend. He sounds so fucking whiny. He reminds me of the dubbed Joe Kido. Lord, I wanted to punch Joe’s face in every time I saw him in Digimon. There’s a high chance that these voices could end up pissing me off. And one thing I noticed that still hasn’t changed from the kids’ shows I used to watch. They keep finding ways of getting swear words pass the censor. The main character Chase has a bad habit of saying ‘oh crag’ when he’s in a bad situation.

 

The Big Appeal: Animals with crystals stuck on them; bite into each other for our amusement. If you like Dialga’s design, you will like the Monsuno designs.

Can we sell toys?: I just don’t get the Toys. They look like crag. So there’s a cylinder which you have to spin and out pops the crystal beast. Admittedly that looks pretty cool but based on the commercial I watched, it seems to be a two player game. How do you win? Compare this with Beyblades. The point of the spinning top game was to smack your opponent out of the ring. Here, the toy seems as fun as pulling a string on a doll and listening to it sing. It might be amusing but it’ll get boring after hearing the same song every time.

 

The Show itself: Might watch it again only because it ended on a thriller.

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Inside the Kremlin Walls, I heard 5 girls calling.

Joshiraku

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What I expected: Comedy that would be completely unfunny with some rare chuckles

What I got: It’s actually getting funnier then I expected.

Joshiraku 1: We’re introduced to the five main characters. Marii, Tetora, Kigurumi, Gankyou and Sadako? Random discussions ensure on dogs and cats

Joshiraku 2: The Girls discuss the lottery followed by visiting Tokyo Tower. Damn, that’s one tall tower.

Joshiraku 3: Marii-a somehow seduces girls. Ki-Rumi teaches us how girls should sit. Afterwards, they ride a train through the city.

Joshiraku 4: Gannie abuses Mariia

Joshiraku 5: Sadako is depressed and the girls try to cheer her up. Mariia throws a fit over crepes.

5 episodes before I write? It’s a luckier number that’s why.

Keeping the premise short, this is about Comedians having a conversation backstage. I’m amazed I persisted with this. For the first two episodes I only understood perhaps 30% of the jokes. If we think of Anime as a business model aimed at Japanese audiences first and sticks a finger to the rest of us who don’t live on a four island archipelago, then this should be the textbook example

It’s been well-explained by Vale how Joshiraku would not be understood by anyone unless you live in Japan. For the first two episodes, I only understood maybe 30% of the jokes and the puns. Thank fuck that I know Chinese and Japanese History otherwise my humour to comprehension bar would be at 10%. This is a show with Japanese puns and references about Japanese history, pop culture, politics, buildings and references to the performing arts.

Out of all the characters, I would like Marii the best but mainly because of the voice acting. Ayane Sakura is a newcomer and she’s doing great as a boyish character. There was one joke spun about how Kigu was just putting up an act of being the archetypical cute idiot. And Sadako brings a nice touch of black comedy with her mild depression. I’d imagine this is how she is how I will be in 10 years’ time so yeah.

But I’m noticing that the show is giving me more chuckles with every episode. Like a nervous amateur doing his first stand up on a Friday Night, the show is getting progressively funnier once it got into a routine. I guess part of the reason could be that there is a lot more mainstream humour. The first episode joked about misplacing a stroke in a character and changing your meaning completely. By the 3rd, we had Tets- Can I call her Tets? Tets is the same nickname for Sydney-based chef Tetsuya and getting rid of the ‘s’ just brings up unwanted images of the Tet Offensive. Getting back on topic, 3rd episode had a comedy routing about Tets’ obscene luck and yuri-spinnable jokes with Mariia and the 5th relied on tried and tested reference-dropping. Maybe the show is being dumbed down a bit? Maybe someone flew a big Clue Missile over to JC Staff? Whatever it is, it’s probably for the better since I wasn’t raised up in Tokyo.

I wondered why I stuck by a show I don’t understand. But I saw potential in this because of that ‘Gibe back joke’. For some people nationalism just ain’t funny. Down at the Beer Hall, ultra-nationalists do hang out there who range from hilariously stupid to the kind you’d like to see piss off for being a dumbass. And for me, land claims are one of those moments where nationalists are hilariously stupid. The hilariously stupid ones, they’re the ones who hurl 5th grade insults at each other on Youtube over historical or imagined torts, pull stunts like swimming for rock awareness, get asspained when a Russian President makes a tweet and niggling, always niggling one another.

But mud-slinging over clay aside, I also stuck by it for the celebrity factor. SZS was the anime that 09ers love and this was his newest work. My second reason which I’ll repeat again is that, I had some knowledge of Japanese history and politics so that helped me. Those rocks? They’re called the Kuriles. The Soviets manage to acquire them from Japan, thanks in small part to the Americans who donated surplus landing ships to the Red Ass Kicker.

And finally I love the anime for that architecture. Staring at neat, slick buildings has been one of my minor interests ever since engineering shows began broadcasting on my TV. Every week, the Girls visit a different part of Tokyo just so Production can practice painting background and reading English tourist maps. It’s lovely just to see huge towers like the Tokyo Tower in Anime or find out about another place I should visit in Tokyo before I die.

So in short, watch Joshiraku but keep wikipedia open.

Other comments: In episode 4, Marii-a makes a huge fuss over all the flavours at the crepe store and criticises the store for taking a mere crepe and doing something whacked out and bizarre. Let’s get this straight. Cooking isn’t about rules. Those recipe books are more of a guideline. It’s not about flavours not working but whether it’s a complement. Just the other day, I made a Milo and grated cheese grilled toast and believe it or not that tasted damn delicious. And hell, if Marii makes such a fuss over just a crepe, I’d love to take someone like her down to Balmain to try out the crazy shit that Zumbo makes like Salted Popcorn Macaron or a 8 Layer Chocolate Cake. Just a cake she would say. And if you ever come down to Sydney, make sure to vis. Zumbo is a sadistic wanker on Master Chef Australia but damn he does deliver his promise of being a Madman Patissiere.

Nailing this first anime review: Nyaruko-san 1-4

Nyaruko-san 1: We’re introduced to our main characters Nyaruko and Mahiro. Nyaruko is the Japanese Lovecraftian deity and she really likes Japanese cartoons. Mahiro is her love interest (at first sight) who she has decided to protect.

Nyaruko-san 2: We visit R’lyeh. Cthuko, the Living Flame is introduced who brings a touch of yuri to the show. And it turns out that the denizens or R’lyeh kidnap boys to act in Yaoi dramas against their will.

Nyaruko-san 3: Shit happens at school. Nyaruko’s brother appears and tries and fails to settle a grudge against his sister.

Nyaruko-san 4: Shouta Hastur is introduced to the audience and she also happens to be Nyaruko’s childhood friend. Mahiro’s mum decides to let the Lovecraftian Gods stay at her house. Isn’t she nice?

 

What I went in expecting: Same humour as the 5 minute skits

What I got: It’s the same humour but it would have been far better if I had never learned about the twisted universe.

 

You know what? I was damn surprised by all the asspain about how the Lovecraftian Gods were raped and I mean that figuratively. Nyarlathotep is a hyper-active girl. Cthugha is the raging lesbian. Hastur is a yellow-haired shouta.

 

I suppose that’s the reaction of every dedicated fan when they hear that their hero/book was put under the OtaKnife and given a Japanese Genderbender Treatment. But this show was nothing new, they were technically broadcasting this as a series of 5 minute anime shorts in the past 3 years and things were awfully quiet back then. Perhaps it was a sign of how unpopular they were? I wasn’t familiar with Lovecraft or Nyarlathotep when I started watching but I came to love the series for the characters and the jokes.

 

So having seen the old series, I knew part and parcel of what I was in for. There would be slapstick (the abusive fork), there would be yuri jokes (Cthuko) and Nyaruko would be energetic to the point of driving you insane. She also liked anime and preferred anime to putting on performances which would drive audience insane and cause them to scream for weeks. I believed that if a 5 minute skit was good, a 24 minute sitcom would be better. The LN seemed like my kind of comedy, I thought I would be better prepared for this. But even I was in for a sucker punch.

 

Within 5 minutes of the first episode, we quickly get details of the world in which Nyarlathotep comes from. Everyone up there from Mr Tentacles to Mr Living Flame is watching anime, playing game and imports (illegally) DVDs from Earth. They consider Earth Entertainment and more Japan’s to be the best. I knew that there was fanwank based on the web series but this took fanwank, strapped it onto a Apollo rocket and launched it to Mars. Cthuko at one point even says that they had game consoles where ever she came from but Earth consoles were considered better. The fanwank would not be for everyone. Coming from 5 minute skits which didn’t have all that much ‘Anime Strong’, I was shocked by just how much fanwank this anime and the LN has.

 

The other detail worth mentioning is that Nyaruko is part of a inter-galactic police organisation and she chases after rogue aliens. There’s some maho shoujo elements mixed in as these Elder Gods politely take their scuffle to some nether dimension where the cloud is always red. Although, I don’t care about the Alien Cop main plot (or is it side plot?). The action scenes aren’t something worth mentioning beyond beam spam. Speaking of beam spam, buy Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion.

 

The comedy boils down to Nyaruko making a move on Mahiro, Mahiro gets annoyed and rejects it, Cthuko makes a move on Nyaruko and Nyaruko gets annoyed. Yeah, I get some chuckles but I feel as though the comedy needs a shake-up soon. The character-based and slapstick stuff is starting to dry. When it comes to getting laughs from yours truly, I believe the second web series was superior. It took the material and gave me laughs from the episode when Cthuko, the Living Flame tries to get a job (and her last resort is a gas station) to the faux-fanservice episode where the characters mocked the audience for expecting tits and the comedy came from the dialogue, not the visuals.

 

Other Comments: It wasn’t too long ago this year that I brought a compendium of Lovecraft’s selected work. Bloody hell, why didn’t I start reading his stuff two years ago? And contact NASA and tell them broadcast ‘Irony by Claris’ to the stars. Maybe the reason aliens have not contacted us is that they don’t have a ear for Mozart?