pluvia33's Blog

December 5th, 2017
As I mentioned in my last blog post, recently getting into Skyrim had thrown my anime watching off track a bit, but after a solid two weeks of not watching ANY ANIME, I got back into the swing of things and I’m now once again on schedule to complete my “Full Card” Emperor difficulty challenge!! I only have four more entries remaining, less than 50 total episodes to watch, over the next 20 days. Should be no problem!! But for now, here’s my running list and talk of what I finished over the last few weeks:

-Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
-Bungou Stray Dogs

-Date A Live - Completed:
For this entry of my challenge I was asked to pull up a random TVTropes entry and watch an anime listed under it. I got Battle Ballgown and this was the first anime listed under it.... Oh boy, this was a bit of a roller coaster ride! At first glance, while watching episode one, I just thought this was a typical light novel adaptation which was mostly serious with some fanservice and comedic relief thrown in. Maybe it was partly my fault for going into the series almost totally blind, but man, the first episode threw some very hefty curveballs at me! Like seriously, in its own way, this was one of the most bonkers first episodes I’ve ever seen of an anime largely because of how caught off guard I was from a few of the little weird, out there plot twists. I mean, other shows are crazy wacky ridiculous in far greater amounts, but they are consistent in their wackiness and you pretty much know you’re in for some crazy stuff within the first few minutes. Date A Live didn’t really have that. Because of how jarring first episode was, it was a bit hard for me to watch a lot of it at once at first. But after I realized that this was largely a dumb comedy, I began enjoying it more. And then, almost out of nowhere, I REALLY started enjoying it! It was a lot of fun and I began to really connect and enjoy the characters. It also may have the best home-video-only bonus “final episode” I’ve ever seen for one of these kinds of shows in Date to Date. Man that was amusing! One of my favorite episodes in the entire series. Anyway, I ended up giving this show a 9, though a bit of a low-tier 9; it didn’t quite crack my top 100 as it would currently sit at 104 if I extended the list out. Still an extremely enjoyable series for me, though, and I’m really looking forward to watching the second season which I will try to work into my 2018 Challenge list if I can.

-Death Parade - Completed: For this one I was asked to watch a favorite anime of a MyAnimeList staff member and this was a show on Licetus’ favorites. I wasn’t sure how this would pan out on my enjoyment level at first with its largely episodic nature, but the show ended up being both a lot of fun and emotionally powerful for me. Even though this is the most recent show I finished (I literally just watched the last episode about an hour ago), I don’t really have much to elaborate on beyond that. I feel like it’s definitely worth checking out. I ended up giving it a 10, although a bit low of a 10, very close to being a 9, as it currently sits at #50 on my working list. Great stuff, though!

-Kaiba - Completed: And this was a weird one. For this entry I had to watch an award winning anime and I can fully understand why this series has received acclaim. It is very legitimately a piece of art and one of the most interestingly done anime I’ve watched for this challenge. It was a bit of a slow burn for me, but I did eventually get into it and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I don’t know if I would ever really care to watch it again. However, for what it did and the fact that I did enjoy it for my (likely only ever) viewing of it, I did give it an 8 and do recommend for anyone to check it out, again, as a piece of art.

-New Game!

-Shigofumi - Completed:
Another series that has to do with death. This is an entry that I used to fit a need for a Psychological/Thriller anime in the Challenge. While this series had some very big emotional hits and had a very interesting story format, for me the characters didn’t really connect that well like they did with Death Parade and that held this series back quite a bit. It was still very enjoyable, but like Kaiba I rated this an 8 and I’m not sure if I’d ever have the desire to watch it again. I would be interested in watching more if they miraculously got another season made, though.

-Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)
Posted by pluvia33 | Dec 5, 5:44 AM | 0 comments
December 1st, 2017
Anime Relations: Mahoutsukai no Yome
So at my usual pace, I should have had enough anime watched (at least 4 series) to make a Watching Challenge update by today, but I got a little off track in the past few weeks. The reason? SKYRIM!! Yeah, so David, a good friend of mine who I've been playing a lot of board games with lately, started playing Skyrim about a month ago and suggested I should get into it. I've had a PS3 copy of the game for a while that I'd never played, but I really wanted to get the PS4 version since I'm usually on that console these days, plus it would have better graphics, mod support (for after I finish the vanilla game), and comes with the DLC stuff pre-loaded.

So yeah, shortly after my last update (10 Nov), I got my PS4 copy of the game in the mail and was playing it like crazy! Like, even on full 8-hour work days, I was still finding a way to squeeze in at least 6 hours of Skyrim time! As a completionist, PS Trophy hunter, and side-quest whore this game has been a MASSIVE time sink and I've been loving every minute of it. The act of just exploring, finding stuff, progressing my character, collecting, crafting, etc. has actually been very therapeutic.

And yes, I know this is a 6-year-old game and the initial hype and conversation around the game has died down (i.e., it's old news), but I don't really care. At this point in my life, I'm perfectly fine with being "late to the party" in my entertainment. I have many video games still on my shelf that are years old which I haven't played yet (hell, I still have FFVI and Chrono Trigger to play!), but whenever I have the time for them, they'll be new for me and I won't really miss the "social interaction" part of the game. Yes, one of the reasons that I'm finally playing Skyrim now is because I can talk to David about it as I play it and that is cool, but it's not that big of a driving factor. This mentality also extends to anime for me: As I'm doing my Anime Watching Challenge, I'm watching a list of pre-determined shows, almost all of which are at least a year old at this point, and have little time for any other anime. I haven't watched a single newly airing anime for the last two seasons, currently passing on watching the much very buzz-worthy Ancient Magus' Bride which my roommate Dan is actually watching as it comes out. I'll almost for sure watch it for next year's Watching Challenge, but I don't mind "missing out" on the conversation at the moment.

Anyway, so Skyrim had consumed my life for about a solid two weeks before I was able to pull myself away enough from it to start watching anime again. That's a lot of time to lose this late in the game as I went from needing to watch at least 2 episodes a day back to 3 episodes a day from the time lost. But I'm better now. I'm very high level in Skyrim now (level 58 or 59) so I can take on most things without much trouble, making the game more of a leisurely stroll than before instead of a rush to amass massive power! I was able to watch my last two shows (Kaiba and Shigofumi) in 3 or 4 days each and I'll likely finish my current series (Date A Live) this weekend. Finishing these three shows will be the last of the shows that I've had to watch downloaded versions of, leaving my final five anime as things that I can watch on Crunchyroll through my PS4 so those should be easier for me to watch. I got a little discouraged about my Watching Challenge when I lost those two weeks to Skyrim, but I think I'm back on track and should have no further problems with finishing this thing off. It's coming down to the wire now, but with how far I've come it would be an absolute shame to fail now!

So, what else has been going on with me? Well, I've mostly just been gaming with David (tabletop gaming) and working with him on the game we've been developing: Pocket Neon City RUMBLE. We actually have a Skype meeting with our partner Rudy tomorrow to go over the rule book which should be fun. I did MASSIVE edits to the rulebook and Rudy (who is an artist and gamer who lives in France) has been doing an AMAZING job putting the graphic design touch on the rules. It's really shaping up to be a rather cool game and I'm proud to have had a hand in that.

David and I have also been trying to put together a board game calendar for our personal use, taking pictures of some of our most significant board game experiences over the past year to make into a calendar for 2018. Sadly that project is a little behind and I actually missed an opportunity for one of the pictures that I still needed to take. I wanted all of the pictures done by the beginning of December (right now) so we would have a full month for post-production and printing, but there are still 6 of the 12 game pictures that need to be done. I'll probably just "stage" most of the remaining pictures that I need (doing "fake" game setups just for the sake of taking pictures of them) this weekend instead of waiting for real game sessions since we've been pretty busy and focusing on specific games a lot (mainly our current Pathfinder Adventure Card Game campaign and Aeon's End).... I actually am not sure if any of this makes much sense to anyone who might come across this post, but this blog is mostly just for me at this point since MAL doesn't really support the blog system enough for me to get many random readers. Anyway, I did figure out what games I'm going to be assigning to each calendar month, most of which have significant reasons behind them for myself and/or David which I won't really get into here:

January - Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
February - The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
March - Pocket Neon City Rumble (Playtest)
April - Galaxy Trucker
May - Castle Panic
June - Hero Realms/Star Realms
July - Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
August - Clank!
September - Aeon's End
October - Quarriors
November - Roll Player
December - Onirim

And that's about all that's really going on with me right now. I'll probably be making a new "2017 Anime Watching Challenge" post sometime this weekend or early next week. Don't really have much else going on right now. No particularly huge plans for XMas, just might go to a little get-together with friends. I'm hoping to go back to Ohio for a long two week vacation during the last week of January/first week of February. Hopefully that works out. Anyway, until next time, laters!!
Posted by pluvia33 | Dec 1, 11:18 AM | 0 comments
November 10th, 2017
It’s been three weeks since my last Challenge update and things have been moving along nicely. With this update I’ve finished five more items off my list and I’m now approaching the home stretch! I only have 8 more anime to watch and all of them are 12 episodes long. So 96 episodes of anime in 6 weeks? Just a little more than 2 episodes to watch per day? I think I’ll be fine. Anyway, here’s the running list:

-Another - Completed: So I have Another on my Challenge list to fulfil a “horror” genre requirement. In the spirit of that, I watched this series during Halloween, though technically I finished the series off the morning of November 1st. Anyway, I liked this series well enough, but it didn’t really wow me. I ended up scoring it a 7 and I consider that kind of generous with how much this series bored me. That’s not to say there weren’t things that I liked; the story was mostly interesting and Mei was a cool character, but that wasn’t really enough for me to really connect with the show. Also, I’ve had some of the major death scenes from the anime spoiled for me by the internet (mostly via the AMV Hell series), so that kind of store a bit of its thunder as well. So yeah, I was glad to have finally watched this series, but I have no desire to watch it again or to try getting into its source material. Oh well.

-Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
-Bungou Stray Dogs
-Date A Live
-Death Parade

-Love Live! School Idol Project - Completed:
I actually had this on my list because the show’s title starts with the same letter as the second letter of my username.... Yeah, kind of an odd way to select a series for the challenge, but whatever. So for the most part, this was a bit of good dumb fun. The songs were nice, the girls were cute, and some of the situations were genuinely funny. I ended up giving it a solid 8, but I felt like it was lacking a little something that could have had it reach up to my Top 100 level. A little bit of that was maybe that the characters didn’t quite strike the right chord with me (which is very important for me with this kind of show), but I think the biggest failing was the ending. I feel like some of the dramatic notes that they were playing with in the final few episodes just felt off and rather forced. It was like they felt like they HAD to have dramatic tension for the ending and it just didn’t feel right and I also felt like the situation was resolved a bit too easily and suddenly. It didn’t really ruin the series for me, but it would have easily gotten a 9 and cracked my Top 100 if the ending was done better. Oh well. I still like the series and I’m interested in watching the second season. Maybe that will be able to give the overall franchise a boost for me and maybe it will have a chance to break into my Top 100 with that. We’ll see.

-New Game!

-Potemayo - Completed:
This was a series that I originally came across YEARS ago, like around when it had its original 2007 airing in Japan. I feel like this was a bit of a hidden gem lost to the 2007-2009 anime crash in the US market (the aftermath of Geneon, ADV, and Bandai going out of business). Anyway, I finally got around to watching this series from start to finish. As I used this series to fulfil an item in the Challenge asking for “an anime with a main character that doesn’t look human,” this series follows a boy who finds a creature in his fridge what he names Potemayo, a weird chibi humanoid with cat ears who mostly says “honi honi” all the time. The series is cute and rather damn funny! The series got a rather solid 8 from me and was very close to getting a 9. I’m not fully sure why it fell short of that since it really hit some of the same notes as one of my all-time favorites, Azumanga Daioh. Maybe it’s that a lot of the moments meant to be touching fell a little flat or maybe I was just being a little too harsh on the series and it probably does deserve a 9 from me after all. I don’t know. I might re-think my score. I really wish I could get into the manga, but as the anime is rather forgotten, the manga also hasn’t had much translated, officially or otherwise (about 1 out of its 5 volumes seems to have scanlations). I’d really like to read it if I could, though.

-ReLIFE - Completed: Here we have the only Challenge entry that I’ve finished this week that actually DID crack my Top 100! I REALLY connected with ReLIFE. As someone who was socially awkward and romantically oblivious in my late teens, I really relate to the “real” high schoolers in this series. And as a full 33-year-old adult who has had some rough times and regrets during his mid and late 20s, I very much relate to Kaizaki, our main focus of the series and man who gets to change his appearance to attend high school again. This series was very touching and had some very fun characters. It got a very solid 9 from me and is currently ranked at #58 on my working Top 100 list. I think all that really held it back from getting a 10 were a few “meh” moments throughout the series (both in writing and production values) and the fact that the anime didn’t quite wrap things up as good as it probably could have. However, it is an adaptation of an ongoing manga. I am totally planning on reading the manga when I get a chance and depending on how well that is presented and where the story goes after where the adaptation ends, I think this series could rise up in rank a bit for me. This series was a very nice surprise.

-Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)

-Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU) - Completed:
So I watched this show as a series that was recommended from my favorite anime, Suzumiya Haruhi, however, as seems to be a bit of a theme for some of the things I’ve watched in this batch, this didn’t really connect with me all that well. Yeah, the main character in this series can be seen as being a little similar to Kyon (not only my favorite character from my favorite anime, but my favorite fictional character period), but Hikigaya is much more harsh and cynical than Kyon. Now, I could like characters like this as I love Daria as well as Davan from my favorite web comic Something Positive, but something about Hikigaya felt a little off. I don’t know; I really felt like I should have probably liked this series more than I did (I just gave it a 7 and it was really close to a 6), but it just didn’t hit its mark with me. Maybe I’m getting jaded or maybe I pushed myself through this series faster than I should have. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll give the next season a chance eventually, but I’m not sure.... Yeah, this isn’t really going anywhere. It was just kind of an okay series for me.

-Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) - Completed:
On Monday, 23 October 2017, I was able to make it to a theatrical screening of A Silent Voice. The closest theater showing the movie was an hour and a half drive away and there were technical issues that caused the movie to start two hours late which was a bit of a mess and rather annoying. However, it was well worth all the trouble! I LOVED this movie. It hit many emotional soft spots for me with deep depictions of bullying, social anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicide. The characters were all interesting and fun to watch while also feeling very real and sympathetic. While your name. is still my favorite standalone anime movie, I actually think overall A Silent Voice treated its cast with more love and care. While the two main characters in your name. were very well developed, the secondary cast didn’t get anywhere near the same level of attention like the secondary characters in A Silent Voice got. Although your name. still outranks it due to its amazing story, extremely touching connection between those two characters, and wonderful Shinkai visuals and direction, A Silent Voice still got a very easy 10 from me and ranks at #34 on my working list. I can’t recommend this movie enough if you are interested in a good character drama and can deal with the subject matter. Just wonderful.
Posted by pluvia33 | Nov 10, 10:25 AM | 0 comments
November 4th, 2017
So earlier this week, I had 20 minutes to spare until I needed to leave for work. Since that wasn't enough time to watch an episode of Love Live (the most recent anime I finished for my Anime Watching Challenge), I put on the PS4 YouTube app to kill time instead. The second video recommendation to me on the home screen was a few minutes shy of 20 and the title made me raise my eyebrow, so I thought, what the hell:

The video's general point is that if you are not happy with the legit anime streaming sites (with the YouTuber having clear feelings that he doesn't particularly love Crunchyroll), then you should not feel obligated to subscribe to them and that you should totally pirate instead so their subscription numbers go down and they are forced to innovate to actually earn your subscription. While there are sort of some halfway decent points to this video, I mostly disagree on some level with just about everything that the YouTuber said....

Crunchyroll is Not a Charity: Since this is in the text of this video's thumbnail, I'll go ahead and go over this point first. This video rails against the idea that anime fans should feel obligated to subscribe to legit anime streaming sites to "support the industry", claiming that it's a bit of an asshole argument. Why should you be guilted into buying something even if you might not be happy with the service? I can partially agree with this line of thinking. Hell, I refuse to buy into Amazon's Anime Strike because I don't like how they're handling the service (double pay-wall and all) and don't think they have enough anime in their catalog yet to make it worth while for me. So, I don't subscribe and I torrent whatever exclusives they have that I'm interested in watching. However, I fully disagree with his reasoning of, "these big corporations (Crunchyroll, Amazon, and Netflix) aren't charity cases." Now, I subscribe to Crunchyroll because I actually like the service. Although there might be a few things that can improve it, I mostly like the PS3/PS4 app interface and it's how I've been watching most of my anime lately. Now, I do buy legit stuff (including my Crunchyroll subscription) in part as a way to "support the industry." However, I do not do it to blindly support Crunchyroll and other North American corporations; I do it to support the actual anime industry back in Japan. The international market for anime is becoming increasingly important to Japan and the licensing fees that legit streaming sites bring in are a very large part of that. Without Crunchyroll and now the competing licensing bids from Amazon and Netflix, the anime industry in Japan would be in deeper shit than it already is. So yeah, a little part of me will continue to do my best to support the industry so we can still have new anime made.

Demanding an End to Exclusive Licensing: HAHAHAHA!!! And this bullshit. Really, excursive licenses is how pretty much all entertainment works. He basically wants there to be a legit version of KissAnime where all anime can be watched for one fee. I'm sorry, but this is utter lunacy. Would you expect to be able to watch Game of Thrones anywhere other than HBO? Why do you think anime should be any different? And do people who demand this crap actually realize how much fucking work this would be? It took so much work for Japan to get on board with streaming services in the first place. Now you're wanting Japan to except a proposal to up-end their entire entertainment structure? Fuck you. You're either insanely ignorant or you're using this as an excuse to never support legit platforms.

Recommending KissAnime as a Piracy Source: This is probably the most irritating thing about this video for me. He says that you SHOULD pirate, but his source for piracy? Fucking KissAnime. Fucking fuck that fucking website. Just watch this video:

The people who run KissAnime are bound to make CRAZY amounts of money. When you watch your anime from that website, you are NOT pirating; you are supporting bootleggers. If you're going to pirate, torrent your anime like a fucking adult. I don't give a shit if KissAnime is "easy" or "convenient" for you. Piracy isn't meant to be that fucking easy. Put a little fucking effort into your piracy. Quit giving these pieces of shit your traffic and data. Just because you're not paying any money doesn't mean that the service is truly "free" or that the people behind it aren't making money off of you. Just STOP!! Sure, maybe some interface shit with KissAnime is objectively better than Crunchyroll (as long as you have a solid ad-blocker and anti-virus software), but they have the unfair advantage of NOT NEEDING TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE!!!! They aren't paying for licenses, translations, press teams, or even video hosting since they use 3rd party hosting for their shit! Blah!!


Now, I would like to note that my remarks are largely targeted to anime fans in the US and Canada (another thing that I kind of would have hoped the YouTuber made a distinction of). Those are some of the only people that get full use of services like Crunchyroll. If you live in a country that doesn't get access to most or any of Crunchyroll's catalog, then you get a bit of a pass. I'd still prefer it if you'd use torrents for your pirating, but if you have no good legit alternative, then I can't really blame you for going to KissAnime. However, the stats for KissAnime do show that a rather large majority of their traffic comes from North America, so that really sucks.

Anyway, this mostly just amounts to the annoyed ramblings of an aging anime fan who is starting to feel like newer fans are complaining more than they really should. I mean, back in my day.... =P But whatever! If you're going to pirate, just say that. Don't start making some kind of excuse to justify your actions. Yeah, just enjoy your anime, I guess. Laters!
Posted by pluvia33 | Nov 4, 4:36 PM | 0 comments
October 22nd, 2017
Over the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve continued to focus a lot on watching my anime! Not really much else to say about it, so, yeah, here’s the running list:

-Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
-Bungou Stray Dogs
-Date A Live
-Death Parade

-Flip Flappers - Completed:
This was a peculiar series to say the least. It was an interesting take on the magical girl genre with some fun characters and cool, colorful animation. However, it was really held back by some very shaky plot structure. Some of the cuts between episodes were just really odd and sometime within the same episode things got really jumpy. Having watched the whole series, I kind of wonder if that was intentional. Although I ending up giving it an 8 score, I’m really interested in giving this one another watch to try and fully grasp what they were trying to do with this original anime production. Very interesting.


-Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront) - Completed:
Sadly, this was probably the biggest chore for me to watch for this challenge. I did not connect well with this series, it was usually very boring for me to watch, and every episode felt much longer than it actually was. I actually had to take a quick break for watching this about half way through to finish watching the second season of My Hero Academia, to watch something that was actually exciting and fun to watch. And that really is a shame. The series looks really nice, but the characters and plot didn’t connect. There were a few moments of joy in the series, but they were few and far between. I ended up giving this series a 6, but if it wasn’t for the high production values it would have easily been a 5. Oh well. Guess I don’t have to worry about watching the second season now.

-Love Live! School Idol Project
-New Game!

-No Game No Life - Completed:
This is a series that really spoke to me and is really relevant to where I am in my life right now. With me being more into tabletop gaming now than ever before, Sora and Shiro’s life in a world ruled by games was of a lot of interest to me. Also, the deep difference in their demeanor between when they are in the world of gaming vs. the mundane “real” world was really relatable to my own feelings comparing real life and my time spent at a game table or when I’m talking games with friends. And in a way, the extent at which I related to this story was a little surprising because I am not a very competitive gamer; I much prefer cooperative games and games with low levels of direct conflict. However, when I think about it, Sora and Shiro’s gaming doesn’t really seem all that competitive. Together, these two are pretty much the greatest gamers in the world. Their opponents aren’t really any competition. When it comes down to it, it really feels like it is Them vs. The Game. To me, it really feels like a cooperative quest on their end. They’re always taking their opponent apart like a puzzle and again, that really spoke to me on a personal level. Anyway, I really liked this show, its story, and pretty much all of the characters. Sadly, though, I could only give it a 9 and it currently sits at #66 on my working list. This happened largely because the series just didn’t have enough room to breathe and really develop. It should have been at LEAST a two-season long series, but it was just 12 episodes. By the end of the series, it reveals itself to have a bit of a cliché collection-quest element to it and it ends with them only 1/8 of the way finished. Now, I’m usually not one to mind too much about a non-conclusive/drop-off ending, but the way this season ended just made it feel empty. I really hope that the prequel movie does well and they are able to make more anime. If not, I suppose I’ll just have to get into reading the original light novels! Either way, I feel like if/when I get around to experiencing more of the story that the series as a whole will go up in my ranking. Still, some great stuff here so far!


-Sakura Trick - Completed:
Ahhh, this was a fun, sweet little show. Such a feel-good show with cute little lesbians. Not really trying to sound creepy or anything, but man these girls are adorable! However, even though I really enjoyed this show, smiling constantly through almost every episode, there was something that felt like it was missing. While it clearly had heart and had some very touching moments, it didn’t quite hit the level of many moe, romantic comedy, and/or slice-of-life shows like Azumanga Daioh, Toradora!, or pretty much any Key adaptation. It also never really got totally laugh-out-loud funny like more gag-heavy slice-of-life shows like Minami-ke, Mitsudomoe, or (again) Azumanga Daioh. Finally, it also doesn’t really have anything that ever feels like real dramatic stakes like my current favorite yuri series Strawberry Panic. So, where does that leave Sakura Trick? It ends just where I thought it would at a very solid, enjoyable 8. It’s just a joy to watch, although a slightly empty joy; it’s a super-sweet junk food anime. I do consider it something that will be a solid must-buy for me, though. It may be an 8, but it’s something that I can see myself re-watching more often than some of my 9s or even a few 10s. It’s something that I can just put on, turn my brain off, and enjoy cute girls being cute and kissing the crap out of each other! ^_^

-Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)
-Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

-Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season (My Hero Academia) - Completed:
As I mentioned in my Blood Blockade Battlefront write-up, I finally finished up the second season of this series! I don’t really have that much to say about it. This season pretty much kept the series on the same level as the first season. I rated it another 10 and for now it’s sticking in the same relative position as before (currently #44). This season had some good character development including more of my favorite character Tsu-chan. Yay!
Posted by pluvia33 | Oct 22, 11:18 AM | 0 comments
October 11th, 2017
Anime Relations: Pingu in the City
This morning I should be watching more of the fun happy high school lesbian show Sakura Trick. But instead, I REALLY need to get some thoughts out of my head....

An anime called Pingu in the City has been popping up in my MAL Panel under the "Latest Anime Reviews" section, typically being scored a 10. Out of curiosity, I click on it and it turns out to be a total joke. This is one of those little kids' anime that have about 7 minute long episodes, a format that typically wouldn't even be able to hit an average score of 7, let alone be around a 9. Not only that, but at the time of writing this the anime is ranked at #17 on MAL's Top Anime list and there is screenshot evidence of it once being at #3!

So what the hell is going on? Really, I'm not entirely sure. I wasted WAY too much time looking around on the internet to try to figure that out, but I don't have a concrete answer. Most of what comes up are people who act like they genuinely think Pingu in the City is a masterpiece, but I can't really find a source for why that as of this writing 7031 votes have scored this anime as a 10 (84.8% of the scores given for the series). However, an older British-Swiss stop-motion version of the series does apparently have some history as an internet meme.

Looking at some of the forum posts seems to shed a little bit of light on how and why the MAL 10-score campaign has happened, though. Rating this a 10 has seemed to become a way for a lot of people to show how worthless the rankings on My Anime List are. By latching on to a series which has meme history, is from a typically very low-rated format (short-form kids' anime), and even a series with non-Japanese roots which causes some to question its validity as being "real anime" (though by MAL's definition, it most certainly is since this version was produced in Japan for a Japanese audience). Some particularly illuminating comments are included in the forum post titled Why such a low score?....

"The answer is that there's actually a small percentage of people who still place value on MAL ratings. As if a system where the average anime is rated a 7 and the spread of most scores is from high 4s to high 8s can be anything but a huge embarrassment as well as a laughing stock."

"So many wannabee elitists with sao and aot as their favorites and a mean score of 7. Their egos got boosted by rating pingu as one. Nothing we can do about it."

Now, this talk of a 7-average is something that has had me thinking for a while upon how I rate anime. You know what my mean score is currently sitting at for anime? 7.66! Yeah, that's pretty damn high. But I make no claims that I have very refined tastes when it comes to anime. In general, I just REALLY love anime of all types! The "average" score for me is a 7 because I feel that most anime is at least "good" by default and that it has to start screwing up or be really boring for me to get lower than that and since the 7 score is labeled as "Good" on MAL, that's how I treat it. And you know what, if it wasn't for the large amount of hentai that I watch and shamelessly log and rate on MAL, my mean score would probably even be higher than an 8!

So how can I maybe "fix" my ratings? And do I really even NEED to fix my ratings? Sure, I could probably re-evaluate every single anime that I've ever watched, ignore the labels that go along with the score and call a score of 5 the basic "Good" anime instead of a 7 for me. But that would be a LOT of work as I currently have 767 completed anime that I've scored. Something else that I could do is actually score everything that I've dropped or put on hold as I currently don't usually rate anything that I haven't finished watching. I could give nearly everything in this category a 5 since that's kind of my "bored to tears" kind of rating and that's why I usually drop or put things on hold. From there, I can rate things lower if I dropped something because it was particularly bad.

However, if I were to start rating things that I haven't actually finished, all that would mostly do is help make my mean score look less stupid-high. Once a series has finished airing, MAL only factors your score into the average if you have finished at least 1/5 of the entry. Many things that I drop or put on hold is only after one or two episodes or otherwise less than 1/5. As an example, if I rated Blood+ a 4 because it bored the crap out of me for the first 6 episodes causing me to drop it, that would not lower it's current average score of 7.78 in any way because 6 episodes is not 1/5 of the series' 50 episode runtime; I'd have to stick it out for 10 episodes instead for my score to matter.

In a way I understand why they decided to do this; they don't want low scores from just watching the first episode of a series to unfairly drag down a show's average score. But really, I think that's a big part of the problem with why people find little value in these average scores and rankings. Does a flash judgement on a series based entirely on the first episode really hold little or no value? Personally, I think there is value in this. Sure, it might suck for a series to be dragged down because it has a slow start, but you know what? That's kind of important! Making a good initial impression is something that a series really needs to have to capture an audience and if it doesn't have that then it has failed on some level; if it really is good when you stick with it, that will balance the average back out a bit. Also, if someone finds the first episode or two of a series to be utter crap, why would they watch more?! I think it is important to capture those feelings to get a true average score. This "needing to have watching a set percentage" thing also provides a boost to shows with high episode counts. Sure, some people if they're bored enough will sit through half of a 12 episode series or 1/4 of a 24 episode series, but most won't sit through 1/5 of a 50+ series (at least 10 episodes) if they are not enjoying it! Although I love Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, it would likely drop a number of spots from its #1 rated throne if every score was counted.

Then of course there is something that I've mentioned a few times before: Franchise Bias. I also love the Monogatari Series, but if it wasn't for the fact that it is part of a long running series, Owarimonogatari 2nd Season would be nowhere near the Top 10 rated anime on MAL. There also wouldn't be 6 entries in the Gintama series higher than the original in the top 15 if it wasn't for this bias. Basically, the longer a franchise goes, the people who rate it are composed more and more of established fans. Why would you watch the sixth entry in the Monogatari or Gintama series if you didn't already like the series? Also about Gintama, the initial entry also gets a big boost from the "need to watch 1/5" thing as it's a 201 episode series (gotta watch at least 40 episodes for your score to count?!).

So with all this in mind, I think it'd be pretty easy for MAL to fix their ranking system a bit if they actually cared to do so. Again, I think it is important to calculate scores given by people who have only watched a few episodes of a series. Maybe you can give more weight to scores from people who have finished it, but I think it's still important to capture early droppers in the rankings in some way. Then I think their weighted scoring formula needs to be revamped. I don't really have time or energy to get into the math of it (and frankly some of the variables confuse me a bit), but this is their system:

Weighted Rank (WR) = (v / (v + m)) * S + (m / (v + m)) * C
S = Average score for the Anime (mean).
v = Number of votes for the Anime = (Number of people scoring the Anime).
m = Minimum votes/scores required to get a calculated score (currently 50 scores required).
C = The mean score across the entire Anime DB.

Ummm, okay. But just based on what people have been able to do with Pingu, this formula isn't really working all that well. Just take a look at the board game rankings on BoardGameGeek; the number of scores given to a game seem to hold a LOT more weight here and I think MAL could probably learn a thing or two from that.

But whatever. Again, is this even worth fixing? I don't know. It would be nice if the rankings on MAL were closer to a "true" marker of quality for people who care about that sort of thing, but that kind of stuff doesn't really matter that much to me. This website is more just for me to track what anime that I watch and share my opinion on it. I'll just go on, trying anime that seems interesting, dropping what doesn't hold me, and move along. If you want well calculated anime rating metadata from MAL, you are probably just looking in the wrong corner of the internet.
Posted by pluvia33 | Oct 11, 5:49 AM | 3 comments
October 10th, 2017
So it’s been about 6 and a half months since my last proper Anime Watching Challenge update. As I mentioned in my last few blog entries, I’d been slacking with my Challenge due largely to life things and focusing on my tabletop gaming hobby more, but I feel like I’m getting back on track now. After making the Excel spreadsheet mentioned in my last “Random Update” and realizing that I need to watch at least 3 episodes a day on average, I’ve been trying to do at least that, trying to at least watch an episode or two in the morning and again in the evening after work and watching a bunch when I have a free day on the weekends. I’m hoping this doesn’t start to feel like a chore, but it hasn’t so far and I have made significant traction: I’ve finished off everything on my challenge that’s longer than 13 episodes and currently have 206 episodes left to watch, bringing my current average “episodes per day” down to 2.71 right now. Good stuff! I feel like I can do this now without burning out. Here’s to the next 76 days! Now, on to the running list:

-Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
-Bungou Stray Dogs
-Date A Live
-Death Parade
-Flip Flappers
-Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

-Kubikiri Cycle: Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai - Completed:
So I did start to enjoy this series a little more as it went along. The characters got a little more interesting and there were actually some cool twists to the murder mystery plot, too. However, in the end it didn’t quite break out to the point of making it on my Top 100 with a final rating of 8/10 from me (all of my Top 100 have ratings of 9 or 10). It was still a fun show and I might be interested to watch it again someday, but it doesn’t live up to other NISIOISIN adaptations that I’ve seen (mainly the Monogatari Series and Katanagatari). Oh well, they can’t all be winners. But if someone has a particular interest in murder mystery plots and likes a good amount of style, I’d definitely recommend giving this series a shot.

-Little Witch Academia - Completed: It’s kind of weird to have to give a comprehensive summery of my feelings on Little Witch Academia after previously talking about each episode in my previous updates, but oh well. I really ended up loving this series! While the first half had a very episodic nature with just a little bit of an overall plot, the second have had much more of a continuous storyline. There were a lot of great moments and bits of amazing animation. There were some characters that really could have used more development, but for what it was the series was still amazing. This has ended up with a 10 rating and climbed to #17 on my working Top 100 list, beating out Kaleido Star as my new favorite “totally suitable for all ages” anime. It was just a joy to watch.

-Love Live! School Idol Project
-New Game!
-No Game No Life

-Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - Completed:
This is the most recent series that I watched from beginning to end and I have to say that I enjoyed Re:Zero quite a bit! When I watched this directly after Steins;Gate (see below) and looking at some of my other favorite anime (see Higurashi), I’ve come to realize that I’m a bit of a sucker for tragedy loops. Something about being trapped in a horrible situation over and over and the struggle to get out of it just really pulls on my heartstrings. Anyway, with Re:Zero I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I remembered there being a LOT of buzz around this series, but there also ended up being a lot of backlash. Some people in particular seemed to hate the ending. Having this in the back of my mind had two effects: First, I think I went into it more critically than I would have otherwise, but the series still did a great job of pulling me in with enjoyable and interesting characters. Second, I had some low expectations for the ending. On the second point, I was actually kind of confused. For an anime based on a light novel series that hasn’t ended yet, I felt that it ended exceptionally well! Maybe there are just some ignorant anime fans out there who still don’t understand the nature of anime adaptation. But yeah, although there were a few rough spots, I still liked this series a lot, enough to give it my 10 score and placed it at #45 on my working list (right now, right below My Hero Academia). Good stuff!


-Sakura Trick - Watching:
I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention this series in this update since I’ve only just watched the first two episodes this morning and will most likely have it finished by the end of the week, but I figured giving my first impressions would hold some value so here we are! Sakura Trick is a shamelessly yuri slice-of-life show with some nice cute light fan service. I was originally going to start No Game No Life after finishing Re:Zero, but I felt that it probably wasn’t a good idea to go into another isekai (transported to another world) series right off the bat and I also felt the need to have some nice light hearted fluffy fun after the intensity of Steins;Gate and Re:Zero. And so far, Sakura Trick has delivered! At this point it’s not really anything to write home about other than the mentioned shameless yuri nature, but that’s fine. I don’t really see it scoring above an 8 for me unless it really steps up its game, but again, I think that’s fine. I can use an easy, solid 8 to watch right now. Hopefully it continues to at least be a fun cute watch.

-Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)

-Steins;Gate - Completed:
I’ve been meaning to watch this anime for a while as it had been consistently in the MAL Top 10 rated anime. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up watching it when it first came out because Chaos;Head (a series kind of in the same world or something) really didn’t impress me with its first episode. I later found out that there was no real reason to watch Chaos;Head first, but then I just wasn’t able to find the time. The Challenge was a good excuse to finally watch this and I’m glad I did! Steins;Gate ended up being rather great with an interesting plot and fun characters. I ended up giving it a solid 10 and it places rather high at #13 on my working Top 100 List. However, it is still kind of hard for me to recommend to people because damn, the early episodes were REALLY slow and felt kind of pointless during the first viewing. I wasn’t really attracted to the characters at first and the early episodes felt very “slice-of-life” but with very flat jokes. The characters did eventually grow on me and the plot was amazing when it finally began to kick in! But that didn’t really happen for me until around the 8th episode. If someone says they dropped the series after watching two or three episodes because they were bored, I really can’t fault them for it and that is a shame. I do feel like knowing what I know now about the series and after getting a feel for the characters, I think those early episodes will be more fun for me whenever I’m able to re-watch it. But again, it’s a shame that the series couldn’t do that the first time around.

-Trigun - Completed: And here’s a true classic anime! I’d actually seen a random episode of Trigun a few times on TV in the past (meaning the same random episode two or three times for some reason), but I never sat down and watched the whole series until I needed an anime from the 1990s for this challenge. This was actually the anime that kind of caused me to fall behind on my challenge. I started watching it on 28 March and didn’t finish it until 16 September. Kind of like with Steins;Gate, the early episodes didn’t really grab me. The first half of the series was very episodic and the series was old. There were hints of something greater and Vash being an interesting character, but it never got through to me with the early stuff. It wasn’t until the series got into his backstory that we really got into the full extent of how much of a pacifist Vash really is, how much the act of taking a life really hurts him, and it wasn’t until the last few episodes that I really felt some major emotions in this story. Until the last five or so episodes, I really didn’t expect Trigun to break my Top 100, but I was able to give it a solid 9 and it is currently sitting at #66 for me. I would really like to re-watch this series sometime because (again, like with Steins;Gate) I feel like I’ll have a better appreciation for Vash’s character now.

-Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)
Posted by pluvia33 | Oct 10, 4:54 PM | 0 comments
September 29th, 2017
Yeah, so the title pretty much says it. I'm kind of bored stuck at work so I figured I'd check in; kill some time until I can be released home.

First, in my personal anime news from the last month, a little while ago I created a simple Excel file to track how much anime I still have to watch for my Anime Challenge. I just wrote up all of the remaining episodes left in my challenge, had them added up, did a date range from today to the last day of the Challenge (24 Dec 2017) to get a number of how many days I have left, then divided remaining episodes by remaining days to get a number of the average number of episodes of anime that I have to watch each day between now and then to be able to actually finish my challenge. It actually helped quite a bit at first. I finished Trigun and Little Witch Academia, caught up on Kubikiri Cycle, and got a few episodes into Steins;Gate. I've slipped again in the last few days, though, and haven't watched much at all this week. As of now I still have 254 episodes of anime to watch. With 87 days left during the challenge period, that means I need to watch on average 2.92 episodes of anime each day. It's definitely doable, but lately I've been pretty busy....

So, what have I been busy with? First and foremost, I've been busy with work. As a financial professional this is a busy time of the year because 1 October starts a new Fiscal Year. So now we have to make sure all of our fiscal year 2017 money is spent so that means some late hours and some overtime pay!

Other than that board games have been taking up a lot of time lately, both in playing them and developing them. Not only have I been playing a lot of games with my friend David, I have also been helping him with a few games of his that are in development: a recent Kickstarter-funded game called Pocket Neon City Rumble and a not-yet-named, very early in development game. I actually did a lot of major re-writes for the Pocket Neon City Rumble rulebook including pretty much making an all new solo play mode from scratch. As someone who has loved making original system content for D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, this is something that I really enjoy doing.

So yeah, after I get through this weekend I think I'll be able to get back into watching anime again in a big way and smash this challenge! I'll write my usual challenge update after I make some more progress (hoping I can finish Steins;Gate and then watch all of Re:Zero really quick, having all of the more-than-13-episodes items completed). But for now I'll just say that Trigun really didn't connect with me all that much initially, but really gained steam around the halfway point and really pulled things together for the last few episodes to get a 9. Little Witch Academia was awesome! Just loved it. It got a very solid 10! I've been getting more into Kubikiri Cycle; still don't love it, but it's not as much of a chore to watch anymore. It likely won't get any higher than an 8. And I've been liking Steins;Gate so far. I haven't fully connected to the characters yet, but they're growing on me. Hopefully this highly rated series doesn't disappoint.

Oh, in other news, I've also been playing some video games to unwind at home when I probably should be watching anime. But hey, I love anime and don't want it to become a chore; it won't be the end of the world if I'm not able to complete my challenge. Anyway, I ended up getting back into Skylanders.... Yeah, I've been thinking of diving back in for a while now, but I finally returned to the series when I saw that the Skylanders: Superchargers starter set for PS4 was on sale at Walmart for only $10! Funny thing is that when I was contemplating getting back into the series, I was going to just skip Superchargers because the vehicle concept/gimmick just didn't really appeal to me. But I just couldn't pass up such a deal! And then after getting that, I had to catch up some and I ordered Trap Team from Amazon right after along with a bunch of new figures.... Yeah, I probably dropped over $300 on new Skylanders stuff this month. =P It's been fun playing it again, though.

I've also finally been getting into playing Final Fantasy Tactics on PSP. I played the crap out of the original Playstation version and it's been a lot of fun revisiting the game. I usually play a little in bed before I go to sleep and I'm planning to bring my PSP to work tomorrow since there will be a LOT of downtime as we wait for money to fall out. I hadn't really been feeling like playing handhelds these last few years, but I'm starting to get a feel for it again. Good stuff. Maybe I'll finally play my DS copy of Chrono Trigger after this! XD

Anyway, that's about it. I'll hopefully be able to leave work soon and then it will be time for the long, long haul tomorrow as it's the last day of the fiscal year. Weeee!!! ^_^
Posted by pluvia33 | Sep 29, 3:59 PM | 0 comments
August 23rd, 2017
Anime Relations: Trigun
It's been over a month since my last update and I've finally worked on fixing some of the damage caused by Photobucket being assholes: I've fixed my "2017 Anime Watching Challenge" badge, my two most image-intensive blog posts (my Top 100 Anime/Manga Series list and old Top 25 Anime/Manga Girls list), and my little Paprika vs. Inception post which rustled some dude's jimmies pretty hard because he couldn't bother himself to actually read what I wrote. There are probably a few other things on here that need fixing, but those were the most critical. But yeah, I'm using my Imgur account for hosting my hotlinks now. I'd made the account nearly a year ago but never used it until now. I'm liking them better than Photobucket. Hopefully they don't die or become assholes any time soon.

Aside from that there's not too much to report at the moment. I finally sat down and watched a few more episodes of Trigun. Hopefully I can get more into the anime watching soon. I also went back to my home town of Dayton Ohio for the weekend a little while ago to see family. That was nice, although I wish it could have been longer. I'll hopefully be taking a longer vacation after the end of the fiscal year is behind me; maybe some time in December or January. And really that's about it. Just a quick little update for now. Hopefully I'll write more soon. Laters!
Posted by pluvia33 | Aug 23, 1:04 AM | 0 comments
July 19th, 2017
So it's been a while since I've posted a blog entry and even longer since I've made a post about anything other than my Anime Watching Challenge. And I actually originally tried to make this post a little over a week ago, but I forgot that MAL forces at least one related anime and lost the entire post.... But that's not really what the "annoyed" part of the title is referring to; at least it wasn't originally. That part of the title comes from this:

Photobucket Is Holding People's Photos For "Ransom"

This might be somewhat old news by now, but man does this suck! I've used Photobucket for years and now they want me to pay $400 to be able to use the main feature that I originally went to it for (3rd party hot linking pictures). It really, really sucks as any pictures used in my blog are hosted on Photobucket and now I have to figure out what I'm going to do about it. This was particularly devastating to my Top 100 list. Hopefully I can find an alternative host and fix the blog posts that matter the most to me, but that might not be for a while.

Anyway, now for a few personal updates:

-A Big Break-up (again): Probably the biggest news in my personal life is that my wife and I have separated. We probably won't get formally divorced again until sometime next year so she can stay on my health insurance and we can keep our taxes simple, but at least her dad isn't being a stickler about her dating someone else while still married this time around. It's kind of sad that our nearly 7-year long romantic relationship has come to an end (again), but I think it's for the best and we'll both hopefully be happier this way.

-A New Roommate: With my wife out of the house and her taking the guest bedroom furniture (it was a set past down to her from her grandma), I had an extra empty bedroom. I offered it to Dan, one of my oldest friends here in New Mexico, and he jumped at the chance to become my roommate! He's been living with me for almost a month now and it has been working out pretty well. It kind of sucks sometimes that he usually works evening shifts at his job so he's gone a lot of the times when I get home from work, but I still get to see him a lot more often now than I was before, so that's cool.

-Board Game Otaku: I've been getting even deeper into board games lately. Buying new games either locally or via Kickstarter has been the main use of my disposable income lately. I've also been playing games a lot with my friend David who actually works on board games as an artist and has even successfully funded two games of his own via Kickstarter! It's been really nice playing games with him, although he can get really busy sometimes with his art work. But yeah, good stuff!

-Vegan Otaku: I've made the decision to become a vegan starting on 29 May 2017, a few days after my 33 birthday. I don't plan on getting preachy about it, just noting that this has happened. My reasoning for making this change is about 60% wanting to get healthier, 30% trying to reduce my ecological impact, and 10% feeling bad for how food-animals are treated. That is all.

-Anime Slacking: And probably the most relevant update for this blog, I've made VERY LITTLE progress on my Anime Watching Challenge since my last update. I started off pretty strong and was planning to have a bunch of 20-something episode long shows done for my next update! I started with finally giving Trigun a serious watch, got 8 episodes in, and got distracted by life. =P Aside from that, I've watched the 13th episode of Little Witch Academia and have been keeping up with the second season of My Hero Academia (which isn't even part of my watching challenge). So yeah, I hope to get back on track with my anime watching. Dan has watched the first 13 episodes of Little Witch Academia now that they are FINALLY on Netflix, so we might start to sit down and watch the second half together from my downloaded copies. And I'll just have to try to find time to watch everything else that I'm watching by myself. There just isn't enough time in the day!! We'll see how it all works out, though.

And that's about if from me for now. Until next time!
Posted by pluvia33 | Jul 19, 12:06 PM | 0 comments