Aggretsuko: My Thoughts

Not going to lie, my relationship with anime over the last few years has been…  Rocky.  In my high school years, anime was this amazing beautiful thing that captivated me and mesmerized me.  here and now, it’s a thing that comes around on Saturday nights, and serves primarily as background noise while I do literally anything but watch it.  Because lately, I can predict what the plot is going to be with a grand total of one, maybe two episodes.

Dumdum McRetard wants to become the very best like no one ever was.  Maybe it’s the king of the pirates, maybe it’s the wizard king, maybe it’s the great hokage.  Whatever you want to call the very best, that’s Dumdum’s goal.  Unfortunately, Dumdum has no grace, no tact, no intelligence, no social skills, no table manners…  In fact, why are we even focusing on this guy?  Badass Van Asskicker, Dumdum’s long time rival and significantly more competent counterpart, is often times the more fascinating characters in these shows.  But wait, there’s a twist!  You see, despite the fact Dumdum McRetard is a hopeless fucking idiot with no chance in hell of making it up so much as one rung of the ladder, it turns out he’s the most powerful fucking person in the entire universe!  And thus, he accomplishes his goals based entirely around dumb luck.

The end.

A Carl Rove production.

Lather, rinse, repeat, dub it into English, and hand it off to Cartoon Network for their dead horse of an anime block.

Call it whatever you want: Naruto, Bleach, Black Clover, Fairy Tail, Seven Deadly Sins, My Hero Academia…  Really, at this point, the list goes on.  I’m so fucking tired of this concept!

Netflix does have a significantly more varied selection of anime…  It was through Netflix I watched shows like Welcome to the NHK, and most of Moribito.  Unfortunately, with Netflix, the one fatal drawback is the show doesn’t always come with an English dub.  Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people: the guy who’d rather not spend a binge session reading subtitles and actually hear English come from my anime.  Call me a weirdo if you must, but if I wanted to READ for a few hours, I’d get a book.

So yeah, I haven’t really been keeping up with anime in the last few years.  I’ve heard some titles, found one or two of those titles on Toonami, saw exactly what I was getting, and went back to bingewatching Baskets or something.

Then, earlier this weekend, a friend of mine introduced me, and another friend to Aggretsuko.

I got to say, this show is actually pretty entertaining.  A lot more entertaining than a furry anime based on cubical drone life deserves to be, that’s for sure.

Meet Retsuko.  She’s a “red panda” (which I just recently discovered is a legit thing), working the cubical life, putting up with horrible bosses, and a life that honestly doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.  But when she isn’t working, she’s going to the local karaoke bar, and screaming her lungs out to death metal!  It’s very Phineas and Ferb in the sense there’s a song of the day, but it’s more akin to Metalocalypse in the sense it’s metal.  I’m fairly certain they rehash the same two or three instrumentals and just put new lyrics to it, ala Nurima Daikon Brothers, but I’m not all the way through the series just yet.

Trust me, this is definitely looking like one of those shows you don’t have to watch all at once if you don’t want to.  if you’re like me, and bingewatching four different things at the moment, that’s a good thing.  Of course if you have nothing going on, and just want to binge the shit out of this show, that’s good too.

The acting, at least on the English dub, is solid.  Although I’m about 85% positive the person performing the death metal is not only a different voice actor from the one providing Retsuko’s voice, but I’m also about 85% positive the death metal singer is a guy.  I could be wrong about that, but as a bit of a connoisseur of the genre, I’m pretty good at picking out female shriekers from male shriekers.  I think I was only wrong once in my entire life, and that was with the band Crisis.

It’s not the kind of show that reinvents the wheel.  In fact, I remember thinking to myself that this was a show that joined the “kids show for adults” fad of the early to mid 2000s about a decade late.  Then again, I don’t expect Japan to be keeping tabs on what’s popular here in The States, so I give this one a pass on that front.

I’m noticing a lot of metal coming from Japan lately.  Between this show, and Baby metal (a Japanese metal band who’s avant gard even by Japanese standards), it’s hard not to notice a trend.  Or maybe metal was always big in Japan, and I’m just now noticing.  I don’t know.  All I can really say is the stuff I’ve seen from Japan lately is a pretty decent change of pace.  The American metal scene right now consists primarily of the djent fad, a few hand-me-downs from Denmark, and Five Finger Death Punch.  If this is the best we can do, maybe it’s time I look into Japan’s metal scene more thoroughly.  And my gateway was a red panda with a cubical job.  Hey, I’ve had dumber origin stories for how I got into scenes and fandoms.  I should tell you my story of how I got into the New Jersey Devils fandom some day.

I’m getting off track.

All and all, Aggretsuko is pretty good.  If nothing else, it’s a very refreshing change of pace for me.

 

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Netflix Presents: Deathnote: My Thoughts

Whew boy, this thing right here SUUUUUUUUUUCKED!

Okay, let’s back up a little.

I actually love Deathnote.  It’s probably the last anime I truly enjoyed from start to finish.  It was the last time something on television felt like it was super urgent to watch, and that missing so much as one episode would ruin my weekend forever.  I had to avoid any and all spoilers for fear it would ruin the mood.  And even with all that, I STILL managed to have a couple minor gripes.

The biggest of all my gripes with the original Deathnote anime was probably the death of L.  Even at my most otaku, I was never one of THOSE fans, but L was the kind of character that had me come pretty close.  I saw this dude who was solving nigh impossible crimes while injecting himself full of diabetes, and I said to myself: “Dude, I have a new hero.”

My gripe with the death of L has less to do with the fact L died, and more to do with the fact Near (L’s replacement) was basically L with bluish hair.  The way the show was looking, I thought for sure they’d end up doing more with Mellow.  I personally would’ve approved of Mellow being the new L.  He was significantly different from his predecessor, almost to the point where you couldn’t even tell who the bad guy was anymore.  With Near, you really might as well have just kept L alive.

But that detail aside, plus the typical complaints/jokes associated with the English dub, I still enjoyed the ride, and I hold Deathnote in really high regard.

You really wouldn’t think anime, a genre that, in the states at least, is associated with fist fights, giant robots, and cute creatures popping out of magic balls fighting each other to the death, would feature something this cerebral.  I mean yeah, this isn’t exactly a Sherlock Holmes novel, but this is probably the closest thing to a cat-and-mouse rivalry I’d seen at the time in anime, and wasn’t a joke like Mouse or Lupin the 3rd.

Then, about ten years later, they released a Deathnote movie on Netflix.  Whew boy, the grievances!

The moment I saw that trailer, I was already dreading the possibilities.  The closest thing to a positive remark I had was that Willem Defoe as Ryuk was actually a pretty good casting choice.  Pretty sure Willem Defoe was living in my closet when I was a kid.  I checked every night, but…  You know, Family Guy already made that joke, and Family Guy is a whole other dumpster fire for another day, so let’s move on.

I’m pretty forgiving as far as the Americanization is concerned.  Light Yagami is now Light Terner.  Misa is now Mia.  L is a black guy.  The story is set in Seattle (I think).  All of these are fine.  I have no problem with this.  Some loudmouth neoliberal fucktard would, and probably HAS used this as a jumping off point to bitch about white-washing Hollywood or whatever, to which I say “Dude, shut the fuck up.”  Seriously, have you ever seen anime?  You’d think a country like Japan wouldn’t be making so many cartoons with white people, but look at it.  I think the only anime where the characters actually looked like Japanese people were Magical Shopping Arcade Obashi, and Monster.  And to be fair, the main protagonist of Monster was a Japanese man going to Germany.

I was about to end that tangent with something along the lines of “Stop making every fucking thing a social justice debate and enjoy the fucking show.”…  Except I forgot for a moment we were talking about Netflix’s Deathnote.  Yeah, I stand corrected.

I’ll give props to the production crew.  This looks like there was a budget behind it, and it looks like something you’d probably see on the CW.  Unfortunately, there’s plenty of other things wrong with it.  For example, IT LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING YOU’D SEE ON THE FUCKING CW!  CW: The young adult network.

I know I should treat different incarnations of a series as their own story, and should stop drawing comparisons to the version I like.  It’s one of the things that drives a friend of mine absolutely insane.  On the other hand, this is the same friend that thinks Kekistan is the greatest fucking thing in the world, so…  Yeah, advice not taken.

Light Yagami was a fucking sociopath.  Light Terner is a pussy.  If anything, MIA was the sociopath in this movie.  The dynamic was all sorts of wrong.

Ryuk was basically nothing but a spectator.  He chimed in with comments every now and then, and he offered to give Light the eyes of a shinigami (death god) at one point, but he never egged him on.  In this version, Ryuk might as well be the fucking devil.  He’s constantly double-dog-daring Light to write a name in the deathnote.

There are at least ninety fucking rules in the Netflix Deathnote, and a lot of them are stupid, or exist soully for the sake of plot convenience.  The anime Deathnote had…  I originally thought eight, but Panda from The Thrifty Niggle says twenty.  Either way, the rules were minimal, and introduced in a nice steady flow that didn’t feel like they were all being crammed into my head all at once.

I can understand needing to speed things up, considering this is a two hour movie instead of a thirty-seven episode show…  But that’s probably one of the biggest flaws of all.  This thing only had about two hours to work with.  And I ended up tapping out at an hour and thirty.

That’s right, I didn’t finish the movie.  Hashtag-SuperUnprofessional.  Whatever.  I don’t believe inflicting pain on myself for fun.  If I watch a movie, it’s because I want to have fun.  At absolute worst, I THINK it’s going to be enjoyable.

Long story short, this whole thing was a massive disappointment.  I probably ought to have known that the moment I saw the trailer, but what can I say?  I do a lot of stupid shit in the name of fandom.  Hell, I was talking about going to see Saw 8 the other day.