Strike Witches (EP1-3)
I’ve gone deep this time. I mean, let’s be honest, the niche for girls with planes for legs is pretty slim. So, it’s no surprise Strike Witches has a cult following. To be honest, I never understand the: “Girls become inanimate objects” meta in anime. Shows like Upotte!!, Kantai Collection: KanColle, and even Girls und Panzer never seem to hit the mark. There’s something vaguely disconcerting about girls transforming into weapons… I’m not sure exactly what it is, just a peculiar notion that makes my brain tingle in all the wrong ways. Still, it was late, and I decided to give Strike Witches a tickle in lieu of any new anime to watch in what has been a mostly disastrous season for new, original shows.
Strike Witches is a fun show.
Lately I’ve been craving something which is just ‘fun’, with little to think about too deeply, or anything that strays beyond the realm of simple entertainment. Shows like this often get passed-off as trite – bloat that contributes nothing to the medium. But who cares? It’s not as though all anime has to fulfil some vague academic purpose, or as having academic value in how it can be ‘deconstructed.’
“Strike Witches is a deconstruction of the Loli genre; in how it satirises the weaponisation of little girls. Specifically commenting on the social disquiet regarding the ‘loli fascination’ and the inherent issues that plague it.”
No… it’s just a show about girls with propellers on their legs. That’s really all it is. It’s all it needs to be. One of those shows you don’t need to binge, one to come back to between watching more intense, narrative-driven shows.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord (EP8-11)
I’ve talked about Demon Lord in a couple of previous Sunday Segments… Maybe I wouldn’t be watching Demon Lord if this season (Summer 2018) wasn’t so terrible, and there was something other than My Hero Academia that I actually wanted to watch every week. Then again, it gives me time to catch up on my ever-growing backlog which has come to occupy a space in my mind which consists of unending anxieties over what show to watch next… Instead, I watch Demon Lord, feeling an odd sense of regret after having done so.
It’s not a bad show by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoy much of the comedy, and much of the Isekai MMORPG setting, despite how it come across as entirely generic and bland. The main character, Diablo, isn’t completely insufferable as often is the case. Of course, like its brothers and sisters, Demon Lord enjoys delving into harem. The bread and butter being Rem and Shera who summoned Diablo from the land of hoomans. Though, other characters contribute: Cristela, Sylvie, and Celestine. It’s quite the gang. There’s something really entertaining and attractive about Demon Lord’s character interactions. They’re whimsical and fleeting. Sure, a lot of the comedy is structured around ‘ecchi moments’ – I don’t have a problem with this. I don’t particularly see why anyone would. It’s anime; it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Ecchi has its place, and I think its well-implemented into Demon Lord without being too over-the-top. Another show of the season – Yuuna’s Ecchi Springs has the problem of it containing way too much ecchi… simply to a point at which it becomes the show itself, which is obviously a problem.
A few months ago (I think it was that long, time and my brain aren’t friends…) I read a post by Jon at Jon Spencer Reviews about Tsuritama and its portrayal of anxiety. I was interested. If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know anxiety is a well-rooted characteristic of my personality. So, why not watch Tsuritama – even if only to get a different perspective. Mostly, however, just to enjoy the show. Because from the outset, enjoyment and laughs are at the top of its priorities.
Tsuritama looks great. It’s aesthetic is one of the most visually appealing I have seen in anime. Not just because it looks good, but because it dares to look as it does. The style is naturally cohesive with the tone of the show, the eccentricism that bleeds from its characters. This is what draws me in so strongly, the ability to immediately comprehend its characters, who they are, and the ideas they represent. It needs no expository explanation of why things are a particular way, but instead, showing them in action; and imparting a greater sense of understanding by doing so. “Show… don’t tell,” something every writer will tell you. Tsuritama may feature in a longer post dedicated to it, we’ll see, we’ll see…
A ‘Minor’ word on Crunchyroll…
I know I’m way, way late talking about this. I actually wrote an entire post about it, but decided against publishing it. Mostly because I believe what I wrote was a little out-of-touch with the reality of the situation. Still, I don’t agree with many of Crunchyroll’s decisions… Why is a streaming company built entirely on anime greenlighting a cartoon as its first full production? It doesn’t make any sense. Understandably, the market for “Western-style” cartoons is larger than the market for anime in the United States. But of those who watch anime through Crunchyroll, how many are want to watch cartoons? Sure, there’s a crossover – it’s not one or the other. However, I think many enjoy anime for this very reason – because we don’t fit in with the media most represented in the West, because we’re unable to feel as though we’re a real part of it. Or we simply agree with the aesthetics of anime more than cartoons.
I don’t want to watch High Guardian Spice because it’s a cartoon, not because of some contrivances within its production/staffing (that are legitimately questionable). Maybe Crunchyroll want to diversify (in a… media sense), in the same vein as Netflix and Amazon have in their ever-growing productions. Yet, Netflix and Amazon never entirely catered to a niche like Crunchyroll does – they’ve always had a very broad audience, unlike Crunchyroll.
I don’t want Crunchyroll to fail. They need to be more self-aware in who they reach with their content, what those people want, and why they want it to begin with.
Thanks for reading!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)