Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Frame Arms Girl (the animation)

First time I saw Gou-Rai was on an ad I happened to see in Japan a few years back, I was so in love with the concept (maybe partly because of the rise of the "Armored Musume" in feminized Zakus and Gundam Unicorn) but I never knew what it was. Only on my return to Japan that I found that it was from a toy line called "Frame Arms Girl". 

I wasn't able to get one because of my tight budget.

Fast forward 2017, I saw Gou-Rai again but as part of then to be released anime for "Frame Arms Girl". I was so psyched.

I've seen a few episodes and the animation was clean and dynamic. The combination of vibrant cell animation and computer generated motion for battle scenes are sewn together almost perfectly, something I wish was also done to "Ajin". The story was presented in seemingly unrelated chapters (in a way likened to "Nichijou") but the plot was not at all ground breaking. 

Its like the "Busou Shinki" anime with a partially disinterested and irresponsible female version of Rihito (the male HS guy that owns the small gynoids), but with a more modern twist in character, quirks and mannerisms that sure got me to like these girls even more.

Now all I have to do is wait for this weekend...there is a Kotobukiya sale happening in a local toy convention. I can finally get myself a Gou-Rai.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017



by Daisuke Hagiwara
(based off the webcomic by HERO)

The gloomy guy in class who no one wants to be friends with, and the popular girl-next-door who almost all the guys pine for both have a secret; outside of school, they are polar opposite of who they present themselves to be. They both discovered each other's secret one day as the gloomy kid Miyamura turns out to be this interesting looker of a fellow with numerous tattoos and piercings, while the popular Hori turns out to be the serious, geeky looking home maker when she's at home. They both don't want this side of them to be known as school, so they both swore to keep their other side a secret.

As they kept each other's secret, they also began spending a lot of time together where they grew closer to each other, and eventually began doing the same even at school. Even Hori's friends and their classmates often define them as mismatched, but slowly Hori and Miyamura began having intimate feelings for each other which resulted in changes within themselves and they start to become more honest about themselves in school (except for Hori's geeky appearance and Miyamura's tattoos).

Based off the webcomic series by Hero, it has a manga spin-off by Daisuke Hagiwara and an OAV made. The animated video was a bit weak, almost appealing only to the fans of the webcomic or manga, but I think the series itself is worthy enough to get its own full length season. The message of working through the problems brought about by adolescence (whether it be something deep and dark, or just something about the daily hassles of being a teenager) is something I think we need to instill though this medium. There are enough manga and anime out there that brings about a troubled mind, but a few gives a positive aura like Horimiya.

But don't get me wrong, Horimiya is not all light hearted shits and giggles. They also tackle some more real-life issues such as bullying, isolation, insecurities and leading a life wearing a different mask which results in more misery and regret. There are also scenes which led to more mature tones about high school relationships and intimacy which exceeded my expectation, given with what I read so far with the series. Even with all this, they still manage to end the chapters with a positive note that made me look forward to more of their story.

The series also present interesting 2nd tier supporting characters who I also grew to love and appreciate. Its almost like those characters are an extension of the personality and life of the main characters Hori and Miyamura. The side stories they are presented in almost stood like a separate series on their own, while staying on point and not deviating from the plot (I almost want Hagiwara-sensei to make a Touru x Yuki series to match Horimiya..... like, TouYuki? YuTouru? :))

I always wanted to see a series like Horimiya; a slice-of-life series, peppered with humor, light drama, wherein you get to develop along with them, and savor the fruits of their endeavor which they worked to achieve. After reading a bunch of heavy, mature drama series, Horimiya came as a breath of fresh air and took me to a more positive reading experience. I always hated it that all you get to read in these types of series are the heavy drama parts then ending just as they have reached a glimmer of light at the end, just as you were starting to root for the characters (wishing for doujin circles to create an afterstory or what-if scenario to follow up the main plot). With Horimiya, you get to see the effects of the troubles that they faced and eventually feel satisfied with the outcome of the story and the plot.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Seitokai Yakuindomo

Tsuda is a simple guy that starts school in an academy that, just the previous year, was an all-girls school. He was halted at the gate by the student council (on the suspicion of entering the school to create his own harem) and was forced to join them as the representative of the fledgling male population. His display of almost disinterest in the advances of the girls made him a likable candidate in the eyes of the student council president, Shino (his reason for entering the school was "because its nearby", the answer all the girls accepted). All would have gone well, except Tsuda is bombarded daily with lewd puns and dirty jokes by the Shino and student council secretary Aria, not to mention the advances of the student council adviser, Yokoshima-sensei, who "thirsts" for younger guys. The nearest person he can find solace with is the student council treasurer Suzu, but even she has issues as she prefers to look down on people (even though she is half as tall as the students in the academy).

Since its based off a four panel comic strip, the story and punchlines are fast paced. Its also a surprise to make the purveyor of lewd jokes to be the immature and naive female council president and the air-head, rich girl secretary. A twist that can be found in a few series.

The animation and production is average for such a type of series, but the timing of the jokes along with the development of the story makes it an enjoyable series to see.

Compared with the past series that I seen so far, its like a reversed "Kaichou wa Maid-sama", with the story development of "Lucky Star" or "Nichijou", combined with the pun and joke theme from "Shimoneta".

Yokoshima-sensei doing one of her "advances" on Tsuda