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March 2017 Update: Sword Art Online and Naruto are Good, Actually

sword art online ordinal scale

I’ve never understood the hipster mentality. While it’s true that not all popular things are good, I don’t see the point of getting mad about the duds or attacking the fans for being mindless sheeple or whatever. Take Sword Art Online, for instance. This series has a laundry list of flaws but the Youtube reviews in particular blow them way out of proportion. What is it about SAO that inspires so much ire? I have no idea, since its narrative flaws exist in just about every mediocre anime ever. Even if I disliked the series, it’s just not worth the energy to rant about.

The above paragraph is fairly moot since I actually like SAO, and I wrote multiple articles this month apologising for it. On Anime News Network, I wrote a piece on Reki Kawahara’s career, arguing that he’s improved as an author over the years and that SAO is mostly the product of his amateur web novel author days. On Crunchyroll, I praised SAO‘s visuals and pointed out that the anime is a good adaptation of the novels, all things said and done.

All this SAO talk was in anticipation of the Ordinal Scale movie. I was particularly looking forward to it because I got the opportunity to write interview questions for the creators, and I knew beforehand just how much love and hard work had been poured into it. The film was a pure fanservice from start to finish, but let’s not interpret that in a negative light. I think iblessall put it best in his review of the movie:

…it was delightful to see Ordinal Scale speaking a language only those who care about this franchise—warts and all—can understand. In the moment when we see Starburst Stream unleashed once again or Yuuki’s spirit embracing Asuna as the Mother’s Rosario Sword Skill appears in a burst of purple lights, the film clearly, unavoidably asks but one thing of its audience: “Remember. Because if you remember how you felt when you watched Sword Art Online, this is for you.”

I’m sure that this film has its fair share of detractors, but Ordinal Scale was unquestioningly Sword Art Online at its best (to me, at least). Can we finally agree that SAO has its legitimate good points?

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Is My Little Sister Can Read Kanji a Good Satire?

siskan 2

My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is a novel I’ve complained about before. In a post from two months ago, I said that Siskan had an entertaining premise but was not a well-told story overall. I still stand by these opinions, even after reading the second volume.

And yet I haven’t stopped reading the series, nor have I stopped thinking about its themes. It makes me question my beliefs about literature, not because it’s a good satire, but because it’s a bad one.

This must be getting confusing for you, so let me take a step back and explain what the satire in Siskan is all about.

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Why Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga sucks compared to the first season

blue exorcist 1

There’s been something… missing in the second season of Blue Exorcist. It’s really strange. The production quality of the second season is high, and it’s adapting a well-regarded arc in the manga. There’s none of the filler that plagued the second half of the first season.

So why does it suck so bad?

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February 2017 Update: I’ve Turned Into a Riajuu

oregairu-hikky

These monthly update posts are starting to get repetitive. I keep complaining about how I haven’t been doing much blogging lately and coming up with vapid excuses for my lack of activity. So I figured I might as well fess up now and admit that I’ve turned into a riajuu pig lately.

Somehow, after all these years of only loving my waifus, I have become interested in a 3D person. This month, I have been engaging heavily in filthy, degenerate behaviour. In other words, going on dates. Whenever I think about what I have become, I think that I should explode.

Long story short, I haven’t been doing much writing lately.

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The Important Takeaways from the J-Novel AMA on Reddit

arifureta

On February 18th, Sam Pinansky of J-Novel Club hosted an AMA on r/LightNovels, where he answered user questions and announced J-Novel Club’s latest license: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. I found this very interesting, given that I was one of the people who had requested Arifureta on the forums, and I had also predicted that it would get licensed last year.

Overall, there was nothing in the AMA that surprised me as someone who has been following J-Novel Club since its inception, but I thought it would be interesting to share some of the answers in the thread to my readers. I also thought it would be useful to archive this information in a more easily accessible form. Think of it as a status update for the company.

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Seiren is a very romantic show

wanna-try-mating

I had nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day so I decided to watch all of Seiren so far.

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January 2017 Update: What’s With All the Hate against Yuri on Ice?

yuri-triplets

WOW, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Even this monthly update post is almost a week late because I was away on a trip. I don’t even have any excuses for the radio silence, really, since it wasn’t like I’ve been particularly busy last January. I’m still in holiday mode, to be honest.

In any case, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

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Vague Thoughts on Winter 2017 Anime

hand_shakers_boobs

The longer I keep up with seasonal anime, the more evident it becomes that most anime are vehicles of stealth marketing. You can watch anime-original projects full of SAKUGA like the above, but most shows are 350-minute long advertisements of a manga/novel/game/whatever. Why bother sticking to just anime for your weeb entertainment in today’s media mix environment?

These days, I usually go directly to the source material unless I really like the anime staff. There are very few anime that fall into this category this season, unfortunately. I would have liked to watch Little Witch Academia, but unfortunately there’s no legal streaming option outside of Japanese Netflix. And as much as I like Yasuhiro Takemoto and KyoAni shows in general, Maid Dragon Kobayashi isn’t my kind of thing.

But whatever, I’ve still been getting into some interesting stuff this season, so here are some vague impressions.

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“My Little Sister Can Read Kanji” vs “I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse”

j-novel-covers

Light novels are known for their clickbait titles even though the majority of light novels do not actually have clickbait titles. But hey, I fell for it, because out of all the J-Novel Club titles released so far, the only ones I’ve read at the time of this writing are My Little Sister Can Read Kanji and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse. I regret nothing.

This blog post is an evaluation of the two titles and their potential for fantastic memes.

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The Isolator is Reki Kawahara’s Best Work

isolator

Reki Kawahara is well known for Sword Art Online and Accel World, but if you ask me, his best work is The Isolator, a sci-fi thriller and psychological drama series that only gets a new volume once a year. It’s based off a web novel Kawahara began writing in 2004, but he has rewritten the story heavily for its light novel release, and it is easily his most mature work.

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