Magically Stupid – Anime Critique: Majimoji Rurumo

Title: Majimoji Rurumo
Format: TV anime
Genre: comedy, ecchi, supernatural
Series Creator: Wataru Watanabe
Series Director: Chikara Sakurai
Studio: J.C.Staff
Series length: 12 episodes
Original Airing dates: July 9 – September 27 2014
Reviewed format: high def download with fan sub

manga cover
manga cover

Synopsis:

Shibaki is a high-school boy whose only interest is girls. Except he’s been branded as the most perverted boy at school and girls avoid him like the plague. One day he finds a book in the library about how to summon witches. He tries it as a joke, but it turns out to be the real thing. An apprentice witch named Rurumo appears to grant him a wish. Shibaki helps Rurumo and she in return refuses to take his soul. When the story starts, Shibaki wishes he could see Rurumo again. His wishes is granted immediately as Rurumo falls from the sky and crash lands in front of him. He finds out that as punishment for not taking his soul she’s been busted down to an apprentice demon. Now, she must complete the task of getting Shibaki to use up 666 magic tickets that grant wishes before she can become a witch again. However, what she doesn’t know is that each time he uses a ticket it shortens his life. When the last ticket is used up, Shibaki will die. Shibaki knows this because Rurumo’s familiar black cat Chiro tell him as part of the “contract” for giving him the tickets. Now, Shibaki has a choice, make a wish and help Rurumo become a witch again or resist the temptation and try to save his own life.


Review:

Oh, for fuck’s sake! Why did I ever bother with this show & keep watching it?!

Why do I keep watching shite like this?!

Majimoji Rurumo is another entry in the ever expanding subgenre of “hentai with a heart of gold”, where the central protagonist is an utter deviant but still manages to do the right thing whilst not ever growing up in any way, shape or form.

I pretty much lay this subgenre as part of the major problem as to why geek culture is so fucked up right now. Filled with self-entitled deadshits who think that the universe owes them copious amounts of poontang for the simple reason that they were born with external genitalia & haven’t raped anyone yet.

Douchebag du jour this time around is Shibaki Kota, who is only obsessed with getting near girls. To the point he will contemplate near sexual assault (or perform it in a cough comical fashion) but often gets beaten for his efforts. Due to his lecherous attitudes, no girl will go near him & they all call him Hentai (Pervert) Shibaki, before he is physically punished by the 3 all female members of the Discipline Committee. His shortsightedness in achieving his pervert goals means that he misses out on real opportunities to get to know women on a personal level. What makes it worse is that he is fully conscious of his habits & yet does nothing to amend them -even if he gets savagely beaten.

I do like the fact that Kota suffers punishment for his stupid perversions & at least he tries to act like a decent human being when he’s called upon to do so. Yet for all the good acts that he does, it doesn’t redeem him in the slightest for being an utterly useless perverted prick the rest of the time.

The basic plot is one that has been seen in much better (better being an utterly subjective & relative term here) series such as Sora no Otoshimono (Heaven’s lost Property), where hopeless pervert acquires access to a a stoic & slightly stupid girl who provides him with supernatural wish fulfilment -which me manages to always to screw up.

The provider of supernatural chaos in this case is witch-in-training (although was once a full witch) Magi Mojiruka Rurumo -who is utterly blank faced & quiet in every situation. Yet approaches every task, even though she is useless at them all, with utter diligence -despite constantly failing at everything besides most forms of magic. After she made a mistake granting Kota’s 1st wish (made accidentally whilst being ordered around by the Occult Club’s President), she was going to be punished again, until Kota saves her. She then returns with a book of 666 Wish Tickets but doesn’t know that once Kota uses them all, she has to take his soul.

The main thrust of the series is Kota basically doing his best to help Rurumo adjust to the human world whilst trying not to give into his selfish desires & use the tickets. When he does so, it’s usually for a selfless or ridiculously stupid reason (yet not perverted ones). Sometimes he helps the people around him but usually he’s aiding Rurumo in some way or trying to protect his porn stash from the Disciplinary Committee. Kota also helps Rurumo connect with those around them & it was probably these side characters that kept me watching.

Mainly the Disciplinary Committee, because they show several levels beyond their cliche rolls. The Chairwoman, Sukimo, despite being stern wants to be treated like a normal girl. Something which Kota does but, naturally, in a perverted way. Masako is the otaku secretary of the DC who keeps her cosplaying hobby secret from everyone but is drawn to Rurumo because she thinks that she’s a witch cosplayer (& because Kota told Rurumo to tell people that she is a cosplayer if anyone asks her about her witch clothing). Overly tall & exceptionally physically powerful Kyōko, whom I wish was developed more -both in terms of character & muscularity. The other highly shown & developed character is Chiro -Rurumo’s talking cat familiar. She often explains things to Kota as well as tries to protect Rurumo from the harsher aspects of her life. Including how she is bullied by the other witches for not having any real skills & being so trusting of everyone around her.

The character splash at the end of the opening credits.
The character splash at the end of the opening credits.

There are other characters who pop in & out but none are as memorable as the Disciplinary Committee but at least there are a couple of moments of genuine emotion & redemption.

The main one is Episode 6, in which Kota tries to hide the fact that he’s picking up some discarded swimsuit magazines in front of them female classmates & instead picks up a box with 3 abandoned kittens in it. He takes them home but his mum refuses to let him keep them, so he works hard to overcome the prejudices that the school has of him to find new owners for the 3 kittens. One of the kittens forms an immediate attachment to him, always saving the Magic Tickets whenever they fall out of his pocket. So, naturally, that kitten gets ill & dies -showing to Kota that even magic has its limits & can’t heal those destined to die or bring back the dead.

This should have been a growing moment for Kota, instead it’s forgotten about in the next episode & any progress in his development is abandoned as he goes back to stupid perverted slapstick gags. But at least Rurumo’s character develop progresses, as she begins to show signs of emotion & attraction towards Kota. For the simple reason that deep down he’s a good guy.

I could wail endlessly on about the hypersexualisation & fan service within the series but I’ll just end up hoarse. The boobs are bouncy, all the girls/women are drawn as cute as they can be but still have something odd about their face designs -hard to place really, might be the eye shape & size.

To be honest, I think one of the only reason I kept watching was because of the uber cute & catchy opening theme Seiippai, Tsutaetai! by Mimori Suzuko.

Overall, this series wasn’t great but it could’ve been a whole lot worse than it was. I still don’t know why I bothered with it, probably to see his Kota would redeem himself in any way. Since this is still from an on going manga, there wasn’t much major resolution but it wasn’t focussed on anything huge. Just Kota helping Rurumo as best he could whilst trying to still be an utterly useless pervert.

I will continue to blame series like this for the terrible behaviour of boys out there but like the human (read: hypocrite) that I am, I’ll keep watching such series until they series cross a line & make me feel physically ill.

My expression during most of my viewing of this series.
My expression during most of my viewing of this series.
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“Then I’ll make my own series -with lolis & tentacles!” – Anime Critique: Seikoku no Dragonar

Seikoku_no_Dragonar_light_novel_vol_1Title: Seikoku no Dragonar (Dragonar Academy, The Star-Marked Dragonar)
Format: TV series
Genre: fantasy, ecchi, harem, action, hentai
Series Creator: Shiki Mizuchi
Series Director: Shunsuke Tada & Tomoyuki Kurokawa
Studio: C-Station
Series length: 12 episodes
Original Airing dates: April 5, 2014 – June 21, 2014
Reviewed format: high def download with fan subs


Synopsis:

“In a land of dragons, where citizens called breeders tame their dragon pals. Races of dragons are born from breeders who are given a Seikoku: a dragon star-shape brand.

Learning to ride and tame dragons comes easy to most students at Ansarivan Dragonar Academy—except for first-year student Ash Blake, who is known by his classmates as the “number one problem child.” Despite his unfashionably large star-shaped brand that marks him as a future dragon master, he has nothing to show for it. His dragon has never appeared. Until now, that is. One fateful day, Ash’s dragon awakes in full glory, but appears different than any dragon ever seen before—in the form of a beautiful girl! What’s more, Ash soon discovers that this new dragon has attitude to spare, as she promptly informs him that she is the master, and he, the servant. Ash’s problems with dragon riding have only just begun.”


Review:

When I wrote my review for Strike The Blood some time back, I had a check list that cited the genericness & cliche of that series, so here we shall repeat that list to see what Seikoku no Dragonar adds to the realm of anime (other than sweet fuck all!).

So, for the sake of repetition & making a point, here’s the list:

Does Seikoku no Dragonar have the following?:

  •     One male protagonist with hidden power? Check!
  •     Also slightly perverted? Check!
  •     Redeems himself by having a pure heart & protects his friends to the risk of his own life? Check!
  •     Tsundere style violent love interest? Check!
  •     Female characters as potential love rivals for the female protagonist? Check!
  •     Secret supernatural powers? Check!
  •     Plenty of useless fan-service? Once again: Check & motherfucking check!

So, what does Seikoku no Dragonar add?

Well, lolicon & tentacle rape. (SFW link)

SeikokuNoDragonar-PV2-2_zpsab39caf0

That’s pretty much it.

I despised this series so much.

Despised it for being cliche. Despised it for rewarding the male gaze every chance it got. Despised for pushing the hypersexualisation of female characters to new lows in a TV broadcast (although I think Kenzen Robo Daimidaler still holds that title, which is why I warned you all from watch it). Despised it for being everything wrong with modern Japanese media.

When the tentacle rape happened in such a blatant & disgusting way I honestly should have stopped watching it & wrote a rant about why it was despicable. Yet it was so like a car crash & I couldn’t turn away out of the dissonant belief that it couldn’t get any worse than it did.

Oh, how wrong I was, dear reader. As the tentacle rape & extreme hypersexualisation only got worse & worse as the series progressed. Every shot of the female characters was sexualised in same way. From the camera just staring at a pair of tits as their owner talked -their head out of shot- to how every female action is performed in a way that the camera pans up & down their bodies. How even if the female characters are powerful & empowered in their own right, they are still turned into nothing but a pile of meat for the eye to absorb. How during the attack of the tentacle rapey undead dragons (not a phrase I’d every thought I’d write yet anime does it to me again) all the women’s clothing was torn off yet the men remained dressed, despite being restrained in the same fashion. The two worse things were how they had the tentacles probe every part of the female anatomy whilst the victims gave off pleasured noises Actually even worse than that were the two loli characters & how they were brutally sexualised by the oft mentioned tentacles or spent the majority of their onscreen time either naked or in a state of general undress.

The non-female designs are also just plain ugly. Especially the dragons.

They all look the same (just like white people really) but are so brutally ungainly & clumsily designed it borders on the sickening. They don’t look in any way graceful or powerful, just lumps of scaled muscle with stubby wings & hideous heads. I suppose this is because they spent the majority of their animation budget on the female characters tits (or the lolis’ lumps).

Maybe I’m just a media sadomasochist who can’t crawl away from what he hates (see my rant on the Little Busters! series).

I should spend more time deconstructing the series, saying how badly rendered all the characters are, how cliched it is or how the relationships between the characters & their various overlapping backstories are formed but it’s all fucking meaningless when the series is so devoid of taste, charm or moderation.

I don’t recommend this series to anyone & if you like you are one sick sad fucker you needs serious help in the form of a knee right to your fucking jaw.

It’s also based upon a Light Novel series & I despise to think how close the anime is to that. The manga is worse in terms of hypersexualisation, so avoid that more.

Now have to scrub my skin with acid to get this series off me!

748192-seikoku_no_dragonar___op___large_01

Been There, Criticised That – Anime Review: Strike The Blood

Strike_the_Blood_Volume_1Title: Strike The Blood (Sutoraiku za Buraddo)
Format: TV anime
Genre: supernatural, ecchi, action, comedy, shonen
Series Creator: Mikumo Gakuto
Series Director: Yamamoto Hideyo
Studio: Silver Link, Connect
Series length: 24 episodes
Original Airing dates: October 4, 2013 – March 28, 2014
Reviewed format: censored TV downloads

 

 

Synopsis:

“The 4th progenitor—the world’s strongest vampire who should only exist in legends. Accompanied by twelve Familiars and spreading calamity, this phantom vampire appeared in Japan. For the observation and obliteration of the Fourth Progenitor, the government and Lion King Organization decided to dispatch an attack mage known as a Sword Shaman. However, for some reason, the one chosen for the observation was an apprentice Sword Shaman girl, Himeragi Yukina. Wielding the strongest anti-progenitor spirit spear, Yukina arrived at Demon District, Itogami City. What is the true identity of the Fourth Progenitor, Akatsuki Kojou, she encountered over there?!”

Review:

OK, girls & boys, cliche checklist time!

  • One male protagonist with hidden power? Check!
  • Also slightly perverted? Check!
  • Redeems himself by having a pure heart & protects his friends to the risk of his own life? Check!
  • Tsundere style violent love interest? Check!
  • Female characters as potential love rivals for the female protagonist? Check!
  • Secret supernatural powers? Check!
  • Plenty of useless fan-service? Check & motherfucking check!

And that’s what we get with the Supernatural Shonen Ecchi comedy series Strike the Blood.

This series started at about the same time that KILL la KILL did & I didn’t really know anything when I first watched it. The first episode was decent but still riddled with cliches but what do you except? It’s very hard to produce entire new ideas & it does come from a fairly popular Light Novel series?

Anyway, the plot resolves around Akatsuki Kojou, a once human who was turned into the most powerful vampire known as the 4th Progenitor through mysterious means. This garners the attention of the Lion-King Organisation, who sends the powerful & obedient, but very naive, Himeragi Yukina act as his observer in case he goes out of control.

Due to this being a world where magic & monsters are known & have been given their own territory where they can freely interact with each other as well as normal humans, Yukina gets involved in a fight with vampires, causing Koujo to reveal his powers to her as he steps in between them. From there the general plot follows Yukina & Koujo coming to terms with not only the immense power that dwells with Koujo but also there feelings for each other.

I stuck with this series because the first half was very well constructed, with nice little story arcs that build upon the last & develop the various characters, main & side, in small ways. Unfortunately it falls apart a bit in the 2nd half (eps 14 or so onwards) because there isn’t really any developments to be made. Just more female characters added to stir up the fan service & harem angle as well as setting up plot threads that will go unanswered because is doubtful it will get another series.

StB Y&K

One of the major problems is that it is so cliched & spins up all the stupid ecchi, fan-service stuff. It plays out a lot like IS: Infinite Stratos in many ways. The ignorant male lead always being protected by those stronger than himself, so he fights to justify his masculine position even though he keeps getting his stupid arse kicked. Which means he struggles to control his power but also means that he stumbles into situations that make him look like a pervert & no one listens to him when he tries to explain, so he gets his arse kicked again.

& his stupid, stubborn need to protect everyone despite his own lack of skill seems to rev the motors of all the ladies around him, so they flock to have him drink their blood, which fuels his powers.

yukina_himeragi_0d

At least that’s a fairly interest an angle but having ecchi activated powers isn’t all that new in an anime. The whole slightly perverted protagonist who gets caught in compromising situations that get blown out of all proportions is one of the most common & annoying Shonen genre Light Novel tropes -usually it’s innocently picking up panties (again: see IS: Infinite Stratos). This plays into the whole idea that “a kiss is pure & innocent, only to be done with someone special” but “hey, here’s a whole heap of underage tits bouncing around. Enjoy & feel no hypocrisy in it!

650px-Strike_the_Blood_Trailer

Anyway, enough bagging, let’s get into more serious discourse. With some critical kicks from the side.

Basically, what does make the series good is the tightness of the first half. You get several small story arcs, usually 3 to 4 episodes per arc, that actually progress the story & character development while setting up future plot points & arcs. Like your typical Shonen work, each new challenge requires more power/strength to overcome &, while getting that power is often more Deus Ex Machina, it actually has some logic to it. What’s actually unlike typical Shonen stuff is that the female characters, whilst being hyper-sexualised, still have their own sense of action & agency. They aren’t sitting around waiting for Kojou to save them, though they are always happy when they do, but always performing actions that will either prevent disaster or protect those they love.

The best example of this is the character Aiba Asagi, the resident computer expert. In fact, she has a supernatural power over computer systems & is considered the Demon District expert on it all -to the point she was once kidnapped due to her talents. Whenever something bad happens -& it always does- she will do anything to see the Island & Kojou (her unrequited crush) protected, even if it means putting herself in danger.

More often than not, even though it is Kojou who defeats the BBEG of the arc, he wouldn’t be able to do so without the female characters. Who either save his stupid arse or provide him with the blood needed to activate his magic powers & thus destroy the ultimate enemy of the arc.

In the end, Strike the Blood isn’t anything new to anime as a whole. It is riddled with cliches & annoyances but does stand above many others of its ilk because of the focus of its stories & the characters within. Unfortunately, possibly due to its source material & translation, a lot left out in terms of background info & development & the 2nd half of the series doesn’t feel as good or refined as the 1st.

It’s not a bad thing to way really but nothing I’d say you should go out of your way for. The blu-ray will be uncensored if you are into that kind of thing. It’s pretty much for genre fans or those who like what I call annoying Fan-Service but it does have some merit in terms of Female Agency, which I’d like to see picked up more in other series (but minus the jiggle factor).