Tag: netsuzou trap

Summer Anime Explosion!

Summer Anime Explosion!

It’s Summerrrrrr! We’re out of the spring anime slog and there are a ton of shows on my summer simulcast list. So what’s good?

Knight’s & Magic this was not on my list at all. This show benefited from the fact it was one of the earliest to hit the simulcast schedule so I watched it because I’m waiting for other shows. But I loved it! The characters were oddly endearing even though they weren’t particularly unique. Maybe Ernesti’s enthusiasm and passion is just that infectious? I think I liked the fact that things moved at a decent pace and weren’t too drawn out. The show is a combination of concepts I’ve already seen done other places but it was really enjoyable all the same. I don’t know if it’s sustainable or if it just had a decent first episode, but I guess we’ll find out.

Fox Spirit Matchmaker I guess I’m just going to have to give up on Haoliners. Everything I’ve tried watching from them just seems a little “off.” The humor should be funny, but it’s not; the plot should be interesting, but it’s not; the characters should be entertaining…but they’re not.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu I made a comment to a friend that you could probably put a poop emoji in Shinsengumi blues and I’d watch it. However, thankfully, Touken Ranbu is better than that. I enjoyed Hanamaru but this series is more battle-centric, which is fine with me. I thought the first episode was a pretty solid combination of action, plot explanation, and personal drama. I’m in.

aoyama kun

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun I’d been looking forward to this one because hey, I love sports even if it’s more of a comedy that a sports anime. I am the opposite of a germaphobe so I sympathized more with the captain than with Aoyama-kun, but the episode was entertaining all the same. There were actually a couple funny surprises that made the episode memorable for me…and Takehito Koyasu as Akira Takechi stole the show.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life This was one I’d been waiting for as cute boys and yokai are totally my thing. This show won me over probably within the first five minutes; I was sold. The first episode was pretty cute, mostly predictable, but I liked it anyway. I’m betting this is a series with a safe intro that will get better as it progresses.

Restaurant to Another World I was kind of lukewarm when I first read about this one, mostly because restaurant anime/manga easily rub me the wrong way. However, after seeing the voice cast, I decided to give it a shot. I knew when the very first words were Junichi Suwabe’s that this show was a winner. Episode one started off pretty strong up until that demon girl had to give us her life story…and I got a bit bored. But I’ve seen how funny and neat this show can be and I hope we see more of that in the next episode.

AHO-GIRL In the interest of full disclosure, the other voice that will automatically get me to watch a show is Tomokazu Sugita’s. And that brings us to Aho-Girl. This show should be stupid and offensive but I found it to be stupid and hilarious. I couldn’t help it; I laughed out loud several times. This is the type of show that definitely isn’t for everyone but I’m actually looking forward to the next episode.

Tsuredure Children  I read the first volume of manga out of curiosity before the anime aired and…I think the manga might be better. I originally thought it would make a decent anime and have the characters in color and voiced would really add something but I think I’d rather have the ability to get through the scenes at my own pace. Even though it’s a short, it still felt like each scene was a little too long.

Fastest Finger First I can’t help it; every time I read this title I snort immaturely. It sounds like hentai to me. But ANYWAY, it’s totally not. It’s a cute (?) high school anime about a quiz club. This actually held my attention more or less and even though our protagonist is the same first-year nerd we’ve seen in countless anime before, he still managed to be kind of cute. The quiz scene was actually more interesting/exciting than I expected.

Love & Lies I actually thought the premise of a government-mandated eharmony to raise the birth rate was interesting. Then the opening theme started and I lost interest. It all looked so boring and the characters were more boring and I try to be flexible about animation styles but their eyes made me secretly wonder if they’re actually supposed to be people or if they’re robots who think they’re people and hopefully this anime will take a really dramatic turn mid-season… But I won’t be around to find out. It’s hard for me to take a couple of 16-year-olds seriously about how dramatically-forever-in-love they are when they’d only spoken once in the last…five years? I think is what they said. If some guy came up to me and said, “You’ve only spoken to me once five years ago, but I’m madly in love with you” I’d tell him the fantasy exceeds reality and please don’t talk to me for another five years at least. Unless that person happened to be Junichi Suwabe in which case I’d say, “Actually, I’ve never spoken to you but hey, I LOVE YOU TOO.”

Netsuzou Trap -NTR- After reading the first volume of the manga, I don’t know why I tried watching the anime. I guess I thought I’d give it a try in case the anime was better? I was wrong; I think it’s actually worse seeing it animated. I hope the target demographic loves the crap out of this show because I do not.

DIVE!! Speaking of target demographic, ever since the PV I thought, “Oh, someone made an anime for me. How nice.” Because of the speedos and one-word title with exclamation marks, this show is drawing similar comparisons to Free!. However, the atmosphere of the show feels very different to me. It feels a bit more sporty and less emo, though I’m sure that boy drama will surface soon enough. I am looking forward to future episodes and seeing some of the other characters from the opening theme…

saiyuki

“If we keep up with a certain pattern over and over again, it becomes our own style.”

Saiyuki Reload Blast  The band’s back together! And the first episode of Saiyuki Reload Blast felt like…most other episodes of Saiyuki I’ve ever watched, many years ago. So the little tongue-in-cheek commentary at the end of the episode made me laugh. There’s something very comforting about starting an anime and having it be exactly what you expected.

Hitorijime My Hero I love BL. That aside, the first episode was really cute. I had read a bit of the manga so I knew what to expect but I was still pleasantly surprised with how endearing the anime seems to be. I liked it even more than I thought I would. And when I heard Kosuke’s voice all I could think was, “Ah, Maeno-san, the eternal seme.”

Welcome to the Ballroom Talk about expectations, this was one of my top anticipated anime for the summer season. I’m totally addicted to the manga so I couldn’t wait to see how the anime turned out. Well…I love it. LOVE IT. I felt like I could just watch the opening theme over and over but then as the episode got underway…sometimes you can just tell in the first minutes an anime will be great and you kind of start drooling. Or maybe that’s just me? Regardless, even with my incredibly high expectations, Welcome to the Ballroom blew me away.

Vatican Miracle Examiner After watching the first episode, one thing is for sure: Junichi Suwabe’s voice is a verfied God-granted miracle. As far as the show itself, just from the looks and description it kind of reminded me of Trinity Blood and in a way, the comparison proved somewhat accurate. They’re both kind of sleepy and full of dialogue and intrigue and bad shit going down in church. Vatican Miracle Examiner wasn’t quite as engaging as I’d hoped but it’s good enough to keep me watching.

Altair: A Record of Battles I started reading the first volume of manga a while back but didn’t make it through so I really hoped animation would make the story more dynamic and engaging. It’s still pretty sleepy, I think because it hops around between political intrigue and moodiness and repetitive flashbacks feeling a bit unstable all the while. So I’m hoping that now we’ve gotten the first episode and its exposition out of the way, the story can find its footing and be more focused and interesting.

What have been your favorites so far? What was your biggest disappointment? Or, better yet, biggest surprise?

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There and Back Again: A Yuri Tale

Anyone who listens to me on the podcast or reads this blog knows I’m a huge fan of BL. But in the interest of fairness and expanding horizons, I’ve been trying to get into yuri. This project has been met with limited success; I tried reading Citrus and found both characters too unlikable to continue. I tried watching Sweet Blue Flowers and dropped it from boredom. So when I saw someone tweet excitedly about NTR Netsuzou Trap by Kodama Naoko, I thought I’d give it a try.

The manga begins with one girl (Hotaru) sliding her fingers up her friend’s (Yuma) skirt between her legs while their respective boyfriends are in front of them singing karaoke. I thought, “Well, these girls don’t waste any time!” but since I’d just read a BL with a guy’s ass in the air on the first page, I thought I shouldn’t rush to judgment.

But it didn’t really get any better from there. About halfway through I actually looked at the cover and went, “Wait, that’s their BOOBS?” But I reminded myself I’m often told that the glorious muscles on my anime boys are totally unrealistic so I figured I should accept totally unrealistic, really round and shiny and painfully-looking-pushed-together boobs also. And it’s not like I’m a noob; I don’t expect realism from drawn boobs. I don’t hate boobs of fantasy. I think I just couldn’t get past the awkward nature of the pose…but, I reminded myself, I’ve never smooshed my boobs against another girl’s and seen what they do (although just looking at that picture kind of makes them hurt) so, again, cut the manga a bit of slack.

I kept trying to look at the manga through a BL lens; yes, the plot was pretty basic and not very believable–but so are so many BL stories I love! Yes, the one character is the most oblivious, naive person in the world to the point of wanting to choke her–but so are so many BL characters! Yes, one character is frustratingly convoluted and sadistic and has yet to demonstrate any redeeming quality–but so are so many BL characters! So why can’t I like this story?!

When I first got into BL, my brother’s theory was that since I can’t relate to the majority of shojo heroines, BL was likely more relatable to me. I’m a tomboy and hung out with boys way more than girls so BL seemed like a no-brainer. I’ve read other theories that women enjoy BL because it’s the opposite-it’s unrelatable. Since it’s a relationship between two men, women can feel safe reading it because there is no female character to relate to and therefore no potential to feel uncomfortable from things that happen to her.

From there, I got lost. I tried relating to these girls but couldn’t. The first issue being if someone tried sliding their fingers between my legs while we’re all at karaoke, I’d probably break their hand. It became immediately obvious that oblivious and tolerant Yuma was not relatable to me. So then I thought, well, as embarrassing as it is to type out loud, in most BL my personality is more similar to the seme’s. So I thought maybe Hotaru was the key. But again, I have no desire to grab anyone’s crotch, especially when they act like they don’t want me to. It doesn’t matter what the crotch is composed of; it’s just rude. So I struck out with Hotaru as well. I was starting to think I just had no taste for yuri.

Exasperated with the end of the first volume of Netsuzou Trap, I moved on to Emma vol. 5 by Kaoru Mori which had also arrived that day. Volume 5 is a collection of short stories about a lot of the side characters from the Emma series, including Emma’s former employer. Her story takes place lounging in bed in the morning with her husband and looking at her nakedness I thought, “I could read a yuri with her in it. She’s beautiful and sensual and confident and intriguing.” Then I remembered the latest volume of A Bride’s Story by the same author with a chapter about the two avowed sisters (sister-wives) and went, “Yes, yes! I’d read a yuri about them! Their story is sooo good!”

That’s when I realized my dilemma about relatability was somewhat pointless. I’ve been through high school but I’ve never been a wife or German or had a dear avowed sister and a rich husband. So shouldn’t I be able to relate to those Netsuzou Trap girls way more than the women of Emma or A Bride’s Story?

So I came to the conclusion it’s not about relatability; it’s about a good story. Yes, okay, I’m way more tolerant of shabby stories in BL, especially if the characters are at least entertaining. But my favorite BL manga (and non-BL, for that matter) are the ones I feel have the best stories above all else. Their plots may not be especially complicated or intriguing, but they are endearing. They make me want to smile as I’m reading. I smiled reading Emma vol 5; I did not smile reading Netsuzou Trap.

So I guess the question is: will Kaoru Mori ever write a yuri? Do you have a yuri suggestion? What, do you think, is the best yuri has to offer?

As a disclaimer, I realize it’s all about preference. Under no circumstances am I suggesting that yuri mangaka need to write with me in mind or that the genre needs to change for me. I just know from reading BL that there are so many different, interesting stories out there that there’s “something for everyone” within the genre and I’m hoping to find that same thing exploring yuri.