The Salty Anime Challenge Day 13: A sad anime that made you feel nothing

Wolf Children

I couldn’t really explain why I felt nothing for this movie, but Wolf Children by director Mamoru Hosoda. This movie focuses on a single mother that tries raising her two children, Ame and Yuki. These children are the products of a wolf father and human mother. Hana (the mother) falls in love with Ookami (the father) while she’s in college. Ookami is killed, leaving his children fatherless. Hana is faced with several problems like whether to take her children to a pediatrician or veterinarian.

Furthermore, once her children start transforming her problems become greater. Fear of exposure becomes an issue in the city. Hana moves her children to the country. While living there they grow through largely typical growth for children. Yuki is later discovered by her classmate Souhei, whom she bites as a wolf. He covers for her and they become friends.

Hana’s son eventually chooses to basically live as a wolf and she tearfully say’s goodbye to him. Eventually, Yuki does move to a dormitory, leaving her mother alone. Wolf Children is well worth your time, but despite the death of the father, the struggle of Hana and her children. Hana’s later abandonment, poverty, fear of exposure, I never found the movie to be moving.

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The Salty Anime Challenge Day 12: Least favorite male/female/sidekick character

Least Favorite Male: Marechiyo Yoshiayamenosuke Nikkōtarōemon Ōmaeda (Bleach)

If you don’t know who Omaeda is then count yourself lucky, he’s pathetic. I loved the most of the Bleach manga but could never understand why he is even a lieutenant. He’s suppose to be a high ranking member of the Gotei 13. Throughout the series I’ve never seen him complete a battle. He doesn’t appear to be that strong and even his character design is terrible. Finally, his personality is the most of putting. He’s described as being ” an arrogant and dull man. He is cowardly, loud, vain, elitist, snobbish, greedy and sluggish.” However, he makes nice jewelry though.

Least Favorite Female: Misa Amane (Death Note)

Misa is a model and supporter of Kira. She later becomes the “Second Kira,” she dedicates her life to aiding him. She becomes infatuated with Light and is willing to do anything he asks without question. Although she doesn’t seem to have enough intelligence to do so anyway. Misa is basically a puppet and Light controls her completely. A lot of this of course is how she’s written but I still hate her. Her personality is equally terrible or lack of personality, she’s surprisingly thin for a anime with very complex characters. She’s an airhead basically, becoming annoying.

Least Favorite Sidekick: Kon (Bleach)

Kon is a modified soul in the Bleach series. A result of a “Soul Society experiment in giving ‘vacant’ human bodies Hollow-killing powers.” He occupies a stuff toy for most of the series. Kon’s biggest problem is his personality. He’s a perverted and he prioritized women based on their breast size. He often uses his stuff animal body to get girls to hug him so he can feel their breast. Kon has been caught by Ichigo on several occasions masturbating in his (Ichigo’s) body. He’s also a coward, but won’t kill anything so I guess that’s good.


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The Salty Anime Challenge Day 11: Least favorite art style or art technique

Berserk’s 3D animation is just BAD

CGI

It’s a common complaint among the anime community is that 3D CGI is general terrible. I’m not going to say that there’s nothing good about CGI but I haven’t seen any I liked. The newest Berserk is primarily CGI, I found the character models to be very stiff. I think full 3D is worst than the blend of 2D and CGI.

Fate/Zero uses both 2D and 3D

Fate/Zero does this very well. CGI is best when it blends in so well that you don’t notice it. I think that is actually an indictment of CGI. Fully 3D anime can be “cut frames” poorly. Finally, CGI just doesn’t flow as well as 2D. To be clear 3D CGI can work, but it seems to require a healthy bit of 2D. For more insight on why CGI can be bad you can read this article. If you want to see an interesting video on how they blend 2D/3D check out this video.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 10: What is something that you dislike about a show you love?

The Naruto series abandoning more sophisticated fighting style.

Naruto is one of my favorite series of all time. While the fillers in this series got annoying that’s actually not my biggest issue. At the beginning of the series Naruto and Sasuke were the main characters but other characters like Rock Lee, Gaara and Neji were prominent both in importance and in skill. Sure Sasuke with the Sharingan and Naruto with the Kyuubi Chakra had significant advantages over the competition, the skill level of many of the other fighters were actually superior.

I’m not suggesting that Naruto and Sasuke shouldn’t eventually have surpassed their peers but that by the end of the series they were the only ones that were really relevant. Most importantly, the series abandoned the more strategic and complex battle style that made me love it in the beginning. For example, the Chuunin exam showcased the analytical ability of the genin. The emphasis on logic in addition to strength made the series the most superior in terms of fighting.

There was also a sense of limits. With clans certain skills we limited to those clans and couldn’t be learned by anyone else or at least not easily. The Kekkei Genkai literally limited abilities to genetics, but at the end of the series the only clan that really mattered was the Uchiha. Eventually, the fighting went from strategy, analyzing and being cunning to pull meteorites from the skies or perform interstellar travel, control dimensions. I’m not opposed to large scale abilities but it no longer became about logic and reason when your opponent can travel through space and time.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 9: Least favorite anime trope(s)

Clothing Damage

If you’ve wanted anime long enough you notice that during the battle sometimes an anime characters clothing will get damaged. Often this is a pathetic attempt to justify fanservice. Clothing damage in anime can ridiculous. Bleach for example has this problem, while it seems that only the male characters are susceptible to clothing damage. The main protagonists, Ichigo even stated that “his outfit changes when he assumes bankai, his shirt takes damage in proportion to how much spirit power he loses. As he rests, the robes mend.”

The most famous example is of course the Dragon Ball series. Goku in particular displays this troupe. You can often comically determine the point in the fight based on Goku’s clothing. If he’s still has his shirt on the fight cannot be over. Strangely enough his pants are apparently made of stronger fabric than his shirt. His pants may get torn, but they never get blow off like his shirt does.

Defeat means Friendship

In popular manga and anime, Fairy Tail, both Gajeel and Juvia join the guild after they are defeated. In the Dragon Ball series almost all of the Z team at some point tried to beat or kill Goku at one point. Krillin even stated that “all of the Z-Fighters were enemies with Goku at some point.” More specifically:

  • Piccolo, was an enemy of Goku until mutual respect for Goku’s fighting ability.
  • Vegeta, prince of the Saiyan’s was nearly killed when he and Nappa tried to steal the dragon balls. Through the series Vegeta slowly becomes a permanent member of the Z team.
  • Majin Buu, has about ten different forms. Fat Buu and Ubuu become members of the Z team.
  • Android 17 & 18, both were created to kill Goku. 18 later marries Krillin, 17 actually doesn’t even meet Goku until Dragon Ball Super.

In Naruto, Neji and Gaara are transformed after Naruto defeats them and changes their lives. The problem with this troupe is that it’s unrealistic. For example, Piccolo, Vegeta, Buu, and Gaara kill many people and seemingly go unpunished for it, other than being defeated in combat.

Not Worth Killing

It is common in anime that a hero or villian will conclude that their opponent is too weak to be worthy of death. This is clearly design to keep the average skilled friends of the main character alive when the “main” bad guy decides that they don’t warrant being killed. It’s also a good way to display the power of a villian while not causing the lives of heroes. However, we all know that eventual the hero will surpass that villian.

  • DBZ, Goku is notorious for leaving villains alive, hoping that they have “learned their lesson,” or even hoping that they comeback stronger because he loves the competition. He does this too often with Frieza, who then goes on to destroy the planet TWICE. He manages to kill everyone on Earth in “Resurrection F ” on for Whis to reverse it.
  • One Piece, even though this series features much fighting, it is rare that they end up in death. Luffy fights brutally but I can’t think of any situation that resulted in anyone being killed by him. This doesn’t necessary mean that villains learn from their mistakes or go to prison, in fact some villains end up better off. For example, Wapol, become “an incredibly wealthy toymaker and tyrant of another kingdom, and Eneru went to the moon like he originally wanted.”
  • Bleach, many of the fights in the series ends with the loser remaining alive due to being unworthy of death. Kenpachi leaves Nnoitra after defeating him, he turns around to leave and Nnoitra attacks him forcing Kenpachi to finally kill him.

Stock Shonen Hero

If your a fan of Shonen anime or you’re just aware of it, you should be able to easily identify which character is the main protagonist. Goku is the template for most of these hero types. They tend to share the same characteristics and are even created to emulate Goku as the creators were inspired by DBZ. The most famous characters that represent this troupe is Natsu from Fairy Tail, Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece and Naruto from Naruto. Some of the the characteristics are:

  • Simple mindedness that borders on stupidity
  • Massive appetites
  • Have orange hair or clothing
  • A tendency to show mercy to enemies that have commit horrible crimes
  • A mastery of difficult techniques in short time
  • A need to train excessively despite quickly learning these techniques
  • Often fights for the thriller of it, and if necessary will surpass all limits to always win

Interestingly, Ichigo from Bleach shares many of these characteristics particularly in battle, however, he’s a smart student.  Edward Elric shares personality traits of the typical Stock Hero but is highly educated due to his mastery of Alchemy. However, some characters subvert this troupe:

  • Boruto from Boruto is actually the opposite of his father, Naruto. While he looks just like him, he’s actually considered to be a “genius,” and wants to be like Sasuke, sharing more qualities with him than his father.
  • Saitama from One Punch Man also subverts this troupe, he does wear orange and trains a lot but because he became too powerful none of his fight thrill him and he’s now bald.
  • Shigeo Kageyama from Mob Psycho 100, is average in many ways, he’s emotionally limited, hates to fight, his usual hair style is a bowl cut and wears all black.
  • Izuku Midoriya from My Hero Academia, has a powerful quirk but his most important ability is his intelligence and ability to analyze and be strategic.

Alright, this post is already too long. I could go on and on. There are many other troupe that bug me, but these are some of the most obvious.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 8: Least favorite genre(s)

Harem Genre

This genre of anime that often focuses on a high school aged male with at least two, often more girls, that are interested in him. Other forms of “harem,” exists such as “reverse harem.” My first issue with the genre is I find it silly. The idea that multiple girls are interested in one guy and he is often ignorant that any of these girls are interested in him I find hard to swallow. He’s often just kind in their presence and that’s why they want him.

To prolong the my pain, the girls seem incapable of expressing themselves towards him. The primary trait of the male is “niceness.” There’s nothing wrong with being nice, but I doubt that’s all it takes for several girls to fall for you. Furthermore, the male in question is as dull and average as possible. This is done intentionally to get male viewers to image themselves in the males position. In contrast the female characters are only there for male desires.

Some of the male characters are just perverts, and while I agree that it can sometimes be funny and become tiresome at some point. Another annoying quality of the harem genre is how LONG it takes for the passive male and silent female to finally tell each other how they feel. The genre is often pandering, the writing is often weak and all the characters tend to be thinly constructed. The harem genre is not suppose to entertain primarily, but be a fantasy for young men. As a consequence the audience is going to be niche, and I not apart of it.

 

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 7: A character that ruined (or almost ruined) a show for you

Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most successful and influential anime series ever. The main protagonists in this series is Shinji Ikari. He’s the young son of Gendo Ikari, the commander of NERV. Gendo is a terrible father and is abusive towards well everyone. He abandons Shiji at one point.

This is important only because it explains why Shinji is so messed up. Shinji is described by the director of Evangelion as “as a boy who shrinks from human contact, and has “convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.” Simply put, he’s pathetic and he becomes grating. He has a “libido-destrudo conflict,” and several complexes.

Mainly he’s has a Oedipus complex which refer’s to a “child’s unconscious sexual desire for the opposite-sex parent and hatred for the same-sex parent.” He also suffers from what is called the “Hedgehog’s dilemma,” which is “is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy.”

I understand that Shinji is one of the most complex characters in anime, his father is an amoral human being, but I couldn’t help tire of his personality. I often found his voice to be annoying and wanted him to just shut up. Ultimately, the series was too good to be ruined by him and he does become less annoying as the series goes on.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 6: A show that you wanted to like (due to the synopsis) but couldn’t

I really tried with Darling in the Franxx but I naturally lost interest. If you read the synopsis you could see why many have gravitated towards the series and why I would at least to attempt watch it:

Synopsis:

The survivors of a catastrophic war against monsters cluster inside the fortress city Plantation and train youngsters to defend humanity by piloting large battle robots called Franxx.

So what was wrong with the series? First I’ll start with the good. The animation was top notch. And that was it. Much of the criticism of the series is that it drives too much from other mecha series like Evangelion and Gurran Lagann. I don’t think it’s the biggest problem the series has.

The obvious and silly fanservice. The pilots simulate the doggystyle sexual position, with the females bending over. The first few episodes lean heavily on weird sexual tropes. I only have the first few episodes to go on, but maybe the series had a more sophisticated plan in mind and I’ve missed it. The in your face sexuality has apparently force China to ban it. 

Finally, I didn’t care for the mecha themselves. They were seemingly design after the female form, but it made them look to “cartoonish,” almost like large toys. In the first episodes the fighting aspect was clearly secondary to the emotional drama between the teens. If Darling in the Franxx wanted to hold on to some of the audience presenting more action could have done it.

The Salty Anime Challenge – Day 5: What would you change about your least favorite anime?

On day 1 I picked Duel Masters as my “Least Favorite Anime.” For day 5 we are asked to change something about our day 1 pick to make us like it. So:

  1. Better animation: I realize that part of the reason for the low budget is the goal of selling merchandise, I think you can have both a high quality anime and sell the card game.
  2. NO CG: The CG and 2D combination doesn’t work for me. The use of CG probably has more to do with the budget than anything else, but it doesn’t help.
  3. Animate the monster, piggybacking off of 1 and 2 if you animated the monsters more you would excited the audience and show off the cool monster designs.
  4. Better character designs.
  5. Shake up the anime card game troupes.
  6. Finally, get better voice acting.

The Salty Anime Challenge – Day 4: The first anime that you hated and/or dropped

Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo was one of the first anime that I was exposed to as a child. I loved it at the beginning, but mostly because of the action. The series was Tenchi Universe, a 26 episode that aired in 1995. The series follows Tenchi at teenager as intergalactic girls enter into his life. One such girl is Space Pirate Ryoko and her spaceship Ryo-Ohki. Galaxy Police (GXP) officer Mihoshi crashes near Tenchi’s home. Without her ship Mihoshi decides not to arrest Ryoko and both decide to stay with Tenchi.

The final woman arrives after receiving a distress signal from Mihoshi, Ayeka. She and Ryoko are arc enemies and begin to fight. They battle in their spaceship’s ending up losing damaging those ships. Now nobody has a ship. Ayeka’s little sister Princess Sasami arrives to save her sister and mad scientists Washu and Mihoshi’s partner Kiyone show up. The Juraian military begins to pursue the two princesses as the Juraian royal family is usurped by Yosho. Tenchi and his harem become fugitives of the Juraian empire.

The series started out well and I even liked the constant bickering between the ladies of the Tenchi Muyo series. However, the story started to lag. I found some of the fan service to be ridiculous. Most notably Tenchi Muyo succumbs to what is called “Flanderization.”

According to tvtropes.com, flanderization is “The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character. Most always, the trait/action becomes completely outlandish and it becomes their defining characteristic.” Many of the characters become insufferable and I ended up dropping the series after it basically abandoned the main story.