On the Bubble Digest – Nijiro Days, Bubuki Buranki, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Nijiro 3-6Bubuki 3-7Grimgar - 03 -8

Nijiro Days – 03

I don’t know if I’m going to blog it (I’m leaning against it but still reserve the right to change my mind) but I find myself quite liking Nijiro Days.  It’s not too over the top in its caricatures – shoujo or otherwise – and for me, it’s actually a fairly realistic take on male (and female) teens by anime standards.  But it should be 22 damn minutes…

I like the way perfectly normal stuff is treated as perfectly normal here.  Tsuyoshi has a girlfriend?  Fine – and they’re both otaku, so it works.  He’s shallow (he considers breaking up with her because he’s moe for black hair and she dyed it for cosplay) but hey – most kids are pretty shallow when it comes to romance.  The courtship between Anna and Natsuki is on the cute side, but they’re progressing at quite a believable pace.  The boys verbally abuse each other in a good-natured way the way male friends in high school do without being excessively douchey about it.

In short, it’s all pretty on the level – a very solid slice of life that actually merits that genre tag, and one focused on characters that are underrepresented in the medium.  I’ll keep watching for sure, and we’ll see about coverage.

 

Bubuki Buranki – 03

Setting aside narrative issues, it’s pretty striking how much better SANZIGEN’s full CGI effort looks than Polygon’s (though admittedly this was visibly a step down from the first two episodes).  This sort of show gives me some hope that CGI anime might eventually prove watchable if indeed that’s the inevitable direction the industry is headed.

Of course we can’t set aside narrative forever, and while I would adjudge this episode of Bubuki Buranki to have been the most coherent and intelligible so far, it hasn’t closed the deal with me.  The characters are pretty two-dimensional and the dialogue pretty trite for the most part.  But the plot is fairly interesting, and there is a certain clumsy sincerity that puts me in mind of Symphogear, among other series.  I’ll keep an eye on things, but there’s going to have to be a tangible leap in my interest level if I’m going to continue blogging it.

 

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – 03

I’m about ready to give on Grimgar, which is kind of a shame since there were elements here that were genuinely interesting.  Maybe you have to be more of a hard-core RPG enthusiast to really appreciate this series, I don’t know – but I do like RPGs and there have been series (not that many, I admit) build around them that I’ve liked.

Bluntly, I think this show is just too LN for me.  It’s so obsessed with the prurient obsessions of its target audience and its depiction of women is so demeaning that I just can’t bring myself to like it.  I can appreciate it at times, but I can’t like it.  We’e not talking about fanservice, here – by contrast to the kind of objectification and condescension in Grimgar fanservice like you see in shows like TLR is pretty harmless.  I know there are worse examples of this in LN than Grimgar, but hey – I like those even less.

Another issue I have with this series is that the casting seems weirdly discordant to me.  Every time a character opens his mouth (it’s not such an issue with the girls, as they’re too indistinct for it to matter) I think it should be the next guy’s voice – except for Yoshino-san, and he sounds like he’s doing a Yoshino-san impression.

What I did like here is the visual sense, which is both distinctive and attractive and suits the premise. And I think the way Grimgar actually points out the ugly side of committing ambush violence against creatures who don’t attack you first is praiseworthy and unusual.  There are certain LN adaptations where I get the sense that the author would really like to be doing something more, but either feels or is compelled to lower themselves to the inane standards of the medium.  I do get that sense here – though maybe I’m giving Jyumonji Ao too much credit.  Either way, the negatives outweigh the positives for me.

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9 comments

  1. S

    about Grimgar. I agree with your points, it’s a lot of things that are off with the series, especially the weak female roles. But as you said they dealt with the hunt and slaughter of innocent goblins in a fresh way I think, and in this episode i didn’t quite get the feeling that they were glossing over that part immediately. The Ranta character is putting on a front with “did you see how mean I looked” talk, and I think he’s actually going to snap. With the others, I think it’s an issue of every kill after the first is a little bit easier, especially since they know that this is the only way for them to survive. Group mentality will do it’s part too. At least, I’ve convinced myself that hints to these things are there.

    Ranta snapping, and the Cook deserting to become a civilian/merchant/cook is something I feel very likely. I’ll stick around for a bit more.

  2. I don’t buy it, he’s been acting this way since the first episode, before they even killed a single goblin. But what pisses me off most is how MC-kun isn’t doing anything to resolve the problem with Ranta, he’d rather the girls change their clothing instead of telling Ranta off for what he’s doing wrong? What gives?

  3. Hmm…I may fall into your category of a hard core rpg enthusiast, even though I have played in a very lomg time.

    In any event I will agree on the fact that the series is not perfect – the voice acting choices, for example feel off sometimes for me, but curiously in other places they feel spot on. Go figure.

    I can see some of what you are seeing in terms of LN’ness, but for whatever reason they do not stand out anywhere near as strongly as they are for you (or others) it seems.

    What the series does excel in for me is immersivenes, and immersiveness in a really, really powerful way – time and again I have been amazed at how perfectly for me this adaptation captures the feel of the early years of my tabletop rpg xp in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In some ways it is almost…surreal to experience something so piercingly and directly like that, even after all these years.

    So yes…I think in my case you may be right – the early years of my tabletop rpg’ing were a very precikus and enjoyable time for me personally, and since this series is able to immerse one in something like that as strongly as it does I may be a classic example of one of the sorts the anime was made for. At least thus far.

    As of ep 3 (of most of the anime series that have aired this season) this is not necessarily the greatest, but it is still very good and the one I look forward to and enjoy the most despite its weaknesses and shortcomings.

    I have had the xp of seeing another series, though, and there being aspects of it that I just could not look past on a personal level – that either just went against my grain in a deep way or stroked my fur backwards whenever they came up. One mutual example of this we both had a similar shrinking reaction to was last year’s Shigatsu and one example I felt in this regard but you did not was Watamote. This for me may be like Watamote was for you, and vice versa, to use a generalization.

    Well…things are still early and could change for the better or worse, so we will see, eh?

  4. s

    Bubuki Buranki: enjoying this series quite a bit. Even if all the characters are two dimensional so far, kogane is the best character out of the five; She feels a bit more varied.

  5. C

    The female characters are indeed poorly-written in comparison to the male ones, but bad writing does not equal sexism and the fanservice is… just something we have to live with as anime fans.

    I think the show is amazing for focusing on the very small and mundane things, instead of a grand epic adventure to defeat the demon king and save the world. I mean, the boys sometimes have to go freeballing due to very reasonable “wardrobe malfunctions” and lack of funds. I would never in my life have expected that coming from the usual tropes this genre is so fond of. Thankfully, Grimgar is subverting many of them, and the subtle character moments which provide some insight as to their past lives are a delight. Gundam IBO could benefit a ton from this instead of repeating the same spiel over and over and over.

  6. Nijiiro Days – Up to Episode 3. This is amusing enough to keep on the backburner. To pull up and watch as and when needed for something short and light to watch.

    Bubuki Buranki – Up to Episode 3. This is borderline for me. Not because of the CG. I can live with CG. While the 1st episode was good in setting out the premise, the subsequent episodes were passable. The characters though are not my cup of tea. The dialogue is a bit stiff. Giving it another episode to see whether I would want to continue.

    Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – Up to Episode 3. It works for me. I have no problem with slow pacing as long as it is doing something that fascinates me, which it does. Same with Flower, I used to play tabletop RPGs. The more realistic setup and the attention to the mundane is a breathe of fresh air compared to the usual modus operandi of this genre (thrown into a fantasy world setting). The observant and those understanding old-fashioned RPGs will relish the time taken by the anime to show the reality and mundane of what being transported to such a world to survive is like. One of the shows that I’ll definitely be following.

  7. I would say that Grimgar is just different. When I watch it, its because the characters are likeable and the art fascinates me, and the calm movement of the episode calms me as well. I like small series that well, give you a little story to go by. We don’t know the background of the story. In fact, I don’t think the girls at the beginning really thought it was bad that they peeped, and as a girl, that dragged on long lol but well, it just calms me. It is not like ‘Erased’ where when you get a nice episode, you must brace yourself for a bombshell the last 2 seconds. I don’t mind. I like the calmness.

  8. I WELL, give up on grimgar, tbh I liked it really, but I read a spoiler that totally turned me off. You can’t make us like things and take them away -.-‘ that’s all I’ll say, maybe i’ll catch up when everything ends 20 years later lol x.x’

  9. Maybe the show just works for me, but Grimgar episodes seems to end way too fast. I don’t see the “sexism” you seem to run into every episode, the girls are really underdeveloped, but to be fair so are all the boys except for the main character and the “leader.” Fanservice is something that we all have to endure in some shows. I’m not complaining, though. This season has two of the best shows in years back to back, so I don’t really feel the need to pick apart this one for its little issues.

    About Rainbow Boys, I don’t but I just love the show. I can’t point out why I like it but I do. I totally agree on that this shows deserved full episodes. Oh, well, you can’t have everything.

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