The Speakeasy: A Reverse Thieves Podcast – Drink #011

Anime 3000 presents The Speakeasy Podcast:
Drink #011: Absinthe Minded, Under the Influence of Gainax

The new season chart comes out and anime fans rush to blogs, forums, twitter, IRC, clubs, and anywhere and everywhere else otaku go to discuss their hobbies. They talk about what shows will be horrible and which shows hopefully meet their expectations. But it seems that no matter what they make, everyone will always discuss one studio and oddly enough usually in glowing terms. This studio is Gainax. Why does Gainax get this free pass from a fandom known for bitterness and pessimism? Does Gainax deserve this lofty status? Also why does everyone forget they made He Is My Master? Are they repressing painful memories?

(Listen) (Show Notes)

And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Absinthe Minded

3 oz Bombay Saphire gin
1/2 oz Absinthe Original
1/2 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur
dry vermouth
1 orange peel

Properly chill 1 cocktail glass. In mixing glass with ice, pour gin and absinthe, and stir. In your cocktail glass, roll 1/2 oz of dry vermouth and throw away the excess. Strain other ingredients into cocktail glass and float 1/2 oz of grand marnier over top. Garnish with orange peel.


Still Not Frozen Out: Winter 2010 Anime Guide

Winter 2010, otherwise know as the season anime died and nothing good was ever made again. Ever. Or at least that is what some people made it seem like. While this is obviously not the strongest season there are still gems to be found. I have yet to find a season yet where there is nothing worth watching and I hope that never changes. I will admit we passed on watching a good number of shows but overall we would have hated most of them. I am sure people will tell Narutaki and I all the wonders we are missing out on by skipping Chu-Bra!!, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Seikon no Quasar but we will just have to take their word on it. Also the theme for this seasons’ preview is objects in the show we watched.

So Ra No Wo To
(Winner of the Nekki Basara Wartime Music Award )

Kanata Sorami becomes a bugler in the army after she was found in a war ravaged city by a bugler. She is assigned to a new base in what seems to be an all female squad. When she comes to the new city it is during a rambunctious celebration tied to a local legend. A legend that just might be tied to events to soon unfold. Overall, I came out of the episode with a very neutral feeling. The characters seem solid but no one won me over. I am 100% sure that the legend of the festival will come to be very important and that is where the meat of anything great will come from. It seems like a well made show but I will only check it out again if I hear that it comes together. This might be neither here nor there but I realized that I could tell what everyone’s personality was just by their hairstyle. I’m not sure if it is because the characters are mostly archetypes or because I am getting more savvy. I suspect a little bit of both. I will also personally give Sora no Oto the Siesta 556 memorial award due to all the trumpet playing.

Also called Sora no Oto, which is what I’m going with, I was a little skeptical about mostly because before it even hit TV people, including us, were calling it military K-ON. But I found the first episode highly enjoyable. A lot of that enjoyment stemmed from the atmosphere and setting which were beautifully established in the opening song and sequence that it ran over. And I hope that stays the opening because the ending song really breaks that. The true test of the series will be getting to know these girls and convincing me they are capable of the trails that will be set before them. I am going to continue on to see just that.

Omamori Himari
(Winner of the Award for Under the Radar Fan-Service . . . of course this Radar has Been Shot by Indiana Jones)

Tits and ass. That is the reason anyone is going to watch this show. You are not going to watch this show for the story, the humor, the style, or the characters. Amakawa Yuuto is descended from a long line of demon hunters and therefore many a demon wants him dead before he can awaken to his power. Until then he is protected by a busty cat demon that has sworn to protect him. Oh, he lives with a childhood friend who wants his bod and he is allergic to cats. Yeah, really standard plot and characters all to get from one scene of T&A to the next. Other than that this show is so very paint by numbers and the action scenes are pretty dull. We do get rather explicit fan service which seems to be the new trend in mediocre fan-service shows now. I think Narutaki purposely picks one one horrible show each season on the off-chance miracle that it might not be utter rubbish. It did not work out so well this time.

Clearly I am destined to always watching something truly awful each season, oh I dodged some major bullets this winter, but one still weaseled in. This is a fan-service show pure and simple. So unsurprisingly the worst animation appears during the “plot” moments and the one fight. Every scene is hyper fan-service for the most part, which draws the line for me with implied hand-jobs. Priorities in this show are clear. Without any real plot or thought given to it, there is nothing here worth watching.

Okami Kakushi
(Winner of the Award for Clearest Example of Being Too Nice)

I was interested in this show if for nothing else it is based on a PSP game directed by Ryukishi07 with character designs by Peach-Pit. This is great because I like Ryukishi07 but admit he is a writer first and a character designer second. I don’t mind Peach-Pit’s character designs but think their stories can go die in a fire. It feels sort of like Higurashi 2.0 but it seems different enough that I am interested in continuing. Hiroshi Kuzumi and his sister who is in  wheelchair move to a new town. Hiroshi gets a next door neighbor who is crushing on him and a class that seems super friendly. In fact, too friendly. There seems to be at least one secret organization in the town and they seem to enforce the rules of the town with a deadly severity. The similarities between this and Higurashi are not hard to make. I think the main difference is that in Okami Kakushi the supernatural parts seems the main deal and I don’t think there will be a mundane mystery. Also in Higurashi trusting your friends was the main message but as far as I can tell Hiroshi has every reason not to trust them. So far Ryukishi07 has not steered me wrong and I don’t sense that anything is horribly off with this show so far. I’m curious to see more.

This show has creepy down pat, and doesn’t even need the opening sequence of events to make it feel that way. The overzealous nature of most everyone in the show will quickly rub you the wrong way making you think “no one is this nice” and that is coming from an optimist. I was also struck by how much the main character doesn’t look like a main character but more like the main character’s best friend in some other show. However, he nor anyone else struck me as particularly interesting (except maybe that guy who appears at the end for a second or the cute dark-haired girl) and that combined with a distinct horror element makes this show not for me.

(Winner of the Award for Best Walking Tour of Ikebukuro)

If you were a fan of Baccano! I assume you are already watching Durarara!! If not you are really missing out because although I have only seen one episode of each it is quite obvious if you like one you will most probably enjoy the other. They both are shows that have a colorful set of characters with seemingly random but interconnected stories that center around a supernatural element in an otherwise seemingly ordinary world. Instead of being about 1920s American gangsters, this is about modern teens in Ikebukuro. The story hooked me quickly as two old friends reunite and go for a walk in the city. At the same time their story intersects with the tale of a headless ghost biker. This is going to be the series that wins most people’s attention across the board with everything being good to great about this show. Other shows might be more highly praised by groups that enjoy a particular genre but this one will be the one everyone remembers.

Durarara!! was certainly the show I was most looking forward to this season and it didn’t disappoint me. The opening was really striking and quickly sets a hip tone for the series to follow. This feeling is furthered by the setting of Ikebukuro and it’s modern night life seen through two teenagers. The people they encounter during this one evening combined with some strange goings on complete the episode and make it absolutely fulfilling. While we don’t learn too much in the episode, it delivers plenty of intrigue about things to come. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Hanamaru Kindergarten
(Winner of the Award for Most Shocking Look at the Pink-Collar Phenomenon)

Well, all I can say is this could have been so much worse. I was worried we were going to get Kodomo no Jikan kindergarten edition. Tsuchida is a new elementary school teacher who has Anzu, one of his students, develops a crush on him. Normally this would be quickly forgotten but Anzu’s mother who was a schoolmate of Tsuchida seems to want them to be married when Anzu grows up. Luckily, I don’t get the same sense that the teacher has feelings for the student back or that we are supposed to be sexually attracted to any of the little girls. Maybe as the series goes on I would come to learn how wrong I am but it seems to be more a parody of Kodomo no Jikan than a even more disturbing version of it. Still overall the series was cute but nothing that hooked me. Anzu’s friend Hiiragi was usually pretty hysterical but everything else was just pleasant if a bit weird. I won’t watch the rest but I won’t shutter when people say they like this show.

This was one of the first shows of the new season I heard about a ways back and it caught my attention for the right reasons. As we got closer and closer to the air date there seemed to be rampant speculation of the possible unsavory turn it could take, but luckily such things were avoided. There is certainly a bit of harem vibe, since the main character even points this out with him being the only male teacher, but he seems really interested in just one girl. The kids were amusing and cute, the best of which I must agree was Hiiragi (Hii-chan). She has these giant vacant eyes and her mouth never seems to move giving the appearance of her speaking telepathically! However, the humor wasn’t really funny enough to hook me and the rest of the story isn’t very special.

Kaito Reinya
(Winner of the Award for Most Serendipitous Repeated Appearance of a Fan)

So very . . . odd. At around 5 minutes the premise is simple Kaito Reinya is a phantom thief based on Reina Tanaka of Morning Musume. Reinya tries to steal some random object with the mouse sidekick who she likes to torture as three police officers try to catch her. The really odd thing is how American it all feels. I swear it looks like an American cartoon trying to be like an anime more than an anime. The Flash animation so moves like an American cartoon and the humor, character designs, and overall aesthetic seem so oddly western. This show is just worth watch at least once to see what I am talking about since if nothing else it is so short. The show is cute if completely vapid. If you waited for the show to be finished you could probably watch all 12 episodes in one sitting.

I didn’t think this was going to get fan-subbed but I seem to have underestimated either the love of Reina Tanaka or the love of catgirls. In any case, I’m glad it did because it’s just an interesting anomaly in the catalog of anime that’s out there. Hisui mentions how it seems like an American cartoon trying to be anime, I actually feel like it’s an anime that is trying to mimic currently popular animation styles from America. But it still feels different, not surprisingly. It is incredibly flat with thick lines but the humor is just quite bizarre. I think it is worth seeing just to see, and I’ll probably watch the rest.