Weekly Digest 11/26/16 – Watamodou, Drifters

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – 08

Watamodou continues to go in the overall sillier direction the last few episodes have taken it, without totally taking its eyes off the prize of the harem storyline.  This time around the comic vehicle is “Puri Puri Moon”, a general pastiche of mahou shoujou anime that leans mostly on Sailor Moon (as indeed most of the real ones do).  Igarashi’s little sister is a huge fan, which means he’s a huge fan – which finally gets his foot in the door of the Serinuma derby (though he stubs his toe pretty hard in the process).

Mutsumi certainly advanced his cause last time, and Igarashi has sort of been riding shotgun from the beginning.  So among the guys that leaves Nanashima and Shinomiya on the outside looking in.  Shino is an extreme longshot altogether (though he’ll seemingly get his spotlight dance next week) but Nana is the one my spidey sense has been telling me all along is the winning horse – he seems to have the right combination of tropes to come out ahead in shoujo (which Watamodou sort of is, in the end).

When Kae gets a job at “Usami Land” in the “Puri Puri Moon” show (to raise funds for “Katchu Ranbu” swag after blowing six months’ allowance and advanced otoshidama on her anime pilgrimage) everyone tries to follow suit – each getting jobs suited to their peculiarities, but only Moon-taku Nana getting one alongside her on-stage. We get a lot of cliche stuff over the course of this ep – most notably Nana passing out from a cold – but in this series it’s all so tongue-in-cheek that it’s hard to be bothered.  What’s interesting is that Nana effectively assaults Kae while whacked-out with fever, which takes things in a kind of dark direction.  It’s certainly no surprise Kae takes a while to get over that, even when Igarashi defends his frival as having not been himself – that’s pretty scary stuff for a teenaged girl (not to mention he gave her his cold).

I’m not sure the story was moved forward materially here – I mean, Mutsumi and Nanashima have not technically kissed Kae, but each occasion involved one of the two parties being unconscious (though Kae clearly retains some memory of it).  If anything it’s becoming more inescapable to Kae that in general, these guys (and girl) are genuinely interested in her physically, and that this is not one of her 2D fantasies…

 

Drifters – 08

Truth be told, I’m mostly watching Drifters for Oda at this point.  It’s kind of surprising that a series could be so perceptive in capturing everything that’s interesting about one of Japan’s most fascinating historical figures and tone-deaf about almost everything else.  It’s like a bad light novel crashed into a really smart historical manga and their DNA got mangled together somehow.  But as long as Drifters mostly steers clear of Kanno (he’s truly awful) and keeps the ill-advised attempts at comedy to a minimum, on balance I still think the good outweighs the bad.

Contradiction is one of the things I’ve always found most fascinating about Japan, and no one exemplifies that more than Oda Nobunaga.  In many ways he was the most progressive ruler in the pre-Meiji era – Oda was a true modernist.  He embraced technology, and didn’t get hung up on cultural isolation and racial politics – if a foreigner or his culture had something of value to him, Oda didn’t care where they were from or what religion they practiced (or didn’t).  But he was also paranoid and sadistic, which ultimately led to his downfall.  Drifters gets this, and that makes Oda a particularly interesting figure in this context – especially given that it’s an Oda who’s learned from his past-life mistakes.  Abe no Seimei is quite right in labelling Oda a dangerous person – he has no idea of what he’s unleashing.  Oda may get the Octoberists where they want to go, but they might not be fully pleased with the world he creates once they get there.

One of the things Oda has learned is that it’s to his advantage to use a figurehead (I still doubt the historical Oda would have been so ready to do this, but that’s another matter), but Toyohisa is far from a lap dog.  He stubbornly sticks to his contradictory ideals (like refusing to kill Jean d’Arc because she’s a woman) and determines to march off and free the dwarves before Oda is ready to form a plan of attack.  But it’s Toyohisa’s straightforward nature that convinces a strong contingent of elves to support him despite their long-standing feud (naturally) with the dwarves.  And he’s got Butch and Sundance backing him up, along with Hannibal.  Each of them is hobbled, though – until Oda gets the dwarves’ help the Gatling Gun is useless, and Hannibal has gone over all senile after Scipio was lost during a scuffle in the forest (where he eventually crosses paths with Kanno).

The overall set up here is interesting enough to drive the story forward despite the not insignificant anchors holding Drifters back.  If Stalker is to be believed this show is going to sell well enough to get a second season, and it has the sort of plot that seems likely to hold up well.

 

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4 comments

  1. I do like this series, the characters, and the action but the attempts at comedy are awful. Drop them and this series would be better, the oddly drawn characters and the comedy bits they tell bring this series down.

  2. I find Drifters the strongest when it focuses on the main trio, Nobunaga is definitely interesting but Toyohisa’s straightforward personality is also fascinating in its own right. I hope that the conflict Yoichi is having will make him more interesting, he’s an alright character but just a small bit lacking compared to the other two.

    As for Watamodou, I find it pretty funny, but that little sister reminded me slightly of the art style in Tonari no Kaibutsu so I went to look that up. And damn, the art for Tonari no Kaibutsu looks way better than anything Brain Base has done since then. Its great that they finally have series that are more interesting to watch, but I wonder if there is still any chance of the studio getting back to its former glory?

  3. That would be a beautiful thing, but with so much of their talent gone and the industry headed in a downward direction I’d hate to predict it. Brain’s base has actually had a pretty decent year this year.

  4. Well, Kanno is believable for what he’s supposed to be – a pilot from the air force that inspired so much fanaticism it actually established the term ‘kamikaze’. Whatever ideals he was fighting for in the past I doubt will matter much here – in fact I’m surprised he cares so much for Italy’s betrayal, which should not affect his own front in the slightest. A world apart from the European theatre, I’d imagine Japan was in it mostly to have an excuse to satisfy its own imperialistic cravings, not because they especially cared about Nazi Germany or its ideals.

    Of course the final thing to see is if he doesn’t actually switch sides when he learns Orte was founded by Hitler. But really, loyalty to that extent to a dead leader of a foreign country seems a bit unbelievable IMHO. First and foremost I’d expect someone from his era to have an enormous dose of nationalistic pride, and that would feel too much like acting as the lapdog for a more powerful ally.

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