Kayarath Adventures in Simulblasting!

Posted on Mar 12 2015

Kayarath's Adventures In Simulblasting

If you’ve been paying attention to the site, you’ll notice the lack of simulblast. I can explain that. While we do enjoy running Simulblast; it is fairly resource intensive. We here at the Fan have decided to instead focus on building our core assets. We hope to be ready to relauch Simulblast in the near future. To put it more bluntly, we’re not doing simulblast because we have other things to do! When we have less things to do, we’ll do simulblast again. This hiatus is the perfect time to for me to do a clip show, err, review all the anime that I watched for Simulblast so far. I want to gather my opinion on these shows in one central location for convenience’s sake.

The very first show I did for Simulblast was Outbreak Company. Don’t remember it? Don’t worry, I don’t think it was worth remembering either. To sum it up quickly, it’s about a super otaku who is transported to a fantasy world in order to spread the good word about Japanese pop culture. As he sets out to the change the world, the world also changes him. In a lot of ways, the show feels like it’s just a checklist of fantasy stock concepts used to fuel a wish fulfillment vehicle. Half the time it’s just recycling basic tropes to follow genre conventions. If I wasn’t clear, I mean it’s cliché.

I do have to give credit where it’s due though. It does put some thought into how the world works, giving viewers food for thought. Outbreak Company also mixes it up, keeping things fresh by adding unpredictable sub plots. It’s wish fulfillment! It’s deconstruction! It’s a sports anime! Now we’re making a movie! While nice, it doesn’t really push the series to greatness; its foundation is built on basic ideas with not enough depth to set it apart. The show is simply average. I can watch it but there’s a huge gap between watchable and good.

While it may not have been my thing, it's certainly Sentai's cup of tea.

While it may not have been my thing, it’s certainly Sentai’s cup of tea.

Engaged to the Unidentified is a romantic comedy about a high schooler who finds herself betrothed to a practical stranger. On her sixteenth birthday, Kobeni learns that she got promised off in an arranged marriage. Also, her fiancee and his little sister are moving in; as in right now. That’ll wake you up in the morning! It turns out, however, that the fiancee isn’t a stranger but a forgotten childhood friend, and the little sister is actually pretty nice. Maybe this can work after all?

Like in any Elder Scrolls game, while there is a plot, the main attraction isn’t the main attraction. What you’re really here for are the kawaii girl antics. Protagonist Kobeni is the waifu archtype; little sister to the fiancee Mashiro is the loli, and eldest sister Beno duel classes as the onee-sama/comic relief. It’s all so fluffy and warm and cute! It’s even, dare I say, moeh! Mashiro-tan is so cute with her fear of aliens, love of sweets, and her serious yet adorable demeanor! Beno-sama is so funny with her abundant energy and lolicon desires. Kobeni also has appeal, with her mothering tendencies for Mashiro, and waifu level abilities in housekeeping. Her subdued but sincere charm that makes Kobeni the perfect straight women to all the antics around her. It’s all so sweet, I can’t get enough of it! I want a second season!

The Irregular at Magic High School is a show I loathe. It’s a show I detest. It is the rare work that I can wholly recommend with every fiber of my being to not watch. It’s a high school show without character, an action show without conflict, a hero’s journey without a person walking it. If pressed, I can easily spend an entire review dissecting this mangled story of an anime. I rather forgot that I ever watched this so I’ll stick to the cliff notes.

I like the show so much, I use this as my smartphone's wall paper!

I like the show so much, I use this as my smartphone’s wall paper!

The protagonist is an emotionless Marty Stu who’s sole endearing character trait is a creepy, borderline incestuous love for his sister. He unceremoniously bulldozes over practically every enemy he encounters in fights that would be more accurately called blowouts. The vast majority of characters are flat, using a high school as a setting is pointless, and the uniforms are unappealing! The only reason I even bothered to watch the finale is so I could mark it as complete in my Hummingbird account!

This was originally a light novel series (what a surprise) so maybe the writing style was just a bad fit for being made into an anime. Reading a description in a book is okay, hearing a character recite said description is not. Anime is a visual and audio medium, and I expect some sell in it; some emotion, some… life. Not this.

Your Lie in April is the last show I watched for Simulblast. It’s about a young emotionally-shattered piano player and his quest to find meaning in life. This is an issue I’ve been pondering for a while so of course it resonates with me. It goes through the whole gambit. Falling into a void of despair. Finding and falling in love with an inspiring girl who has a zest for live. Marveling at the inner strength and determination of the rivals. Looking inside yourself for the strength to finally move forward. Walking the new path you set out for yourself. It’s a classic journey, but one I don’t take nearly enough.

The heart, like music, works best when following a beat.

The heart, like music, works best when following a beat.

What makes it so compelling is the focus on feelings. Everything from visual effects, the writing, and the voice acting serves to reinforce the atmosphere of a character’s mood. You get to peer deep into the character’s souls, making their mundane affairs a lot heavier then they should be. If you’re in the mood for something heavy, then Your Lie in April is a weight you’re gonna carry.

I’m not sure how I feel about Simulblast as a whole. One one hand, it lead me to some new favorites I would have normally missed. Sometimes you just need to be directed to something new, because it could be something you never knew you wanted. On the other hand, I also found myself saddled with some shows I would rather not have watched. Sometimes there’s good reason that a manga or anime doesn’t get picked up by a Funimation or a Sentai. There’s a lot of anime out there and you’re just as likely to fall into a trap as find a hidden gem. If only there was some way to have those hidden gems presented right to you, without having to go through the work yourself. If only there was someone who would tell you where the good stuff where is…

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  • moonhawk81 March 17, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    I also loathed The Irregular at Magic High School. Your Lie in April has a strong plot and beautiful music, but I lost faith and interest in the protagonist and had to drop it. I completely disagree with you about Outbreak Company, which I considered one of the best and funniest shows of its season. And I, too, want a second season of Engaged to the Unidentified–of course, it must have more Mashiro dance! In fact, I bought both Outbreak Company and Engaged to the Unidentified on pre-order, and remain completely charmed.

  • Kayarath March 18, 2015 at 12:41 AM

    When it comes to Outbreak Company, I will admit that it has appeal and some people will certainly enjoy it. As long as we agree on The Irregular at Magic High School being bad, then it’s all good 😀

  • Bobby Henshin March 18, 2015 at 10:16 PM

    i was so looking forward to trying to do JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure last season T^T lol but i do hope it goes back up in the future. Still regret the last one i was assigned, Wolf Girl and the Black Prince. Such a bad anime. and not even because it was a shoujo it was just bad.

  • Haltfire302 April 18, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    In my own personal opinion. I loved Irregular at Magic High School. The main character didn’t have much or any development, but the sci-fi aspect and plot was enough for me. I can understand how you may hate it though.

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