A routine scan reveals the presence of a ship that should not be there.

Another excellent episode of Bodacious Space Pirates (Moretsu Pirates) — Now that the voyage of the Odette II is under way, some mysterious things start happening, including the sighting of a Ghost Ship, one that is supposed to have been destroyed for over a hundred years. Besides the cool factor of introducing a ghost ship, this episode did two very good things: it maintained its careful pacing, and it started filling us in on the other characters.

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For those who don’t recall, Gokujyo AKA Gokurakuin Joshikouryou Monogatari (Tales from the Gokuraku Girl’s dorm) was supposed to be a Winter 2012 anime that had the HILARIOUS premise of a girl going to school, where hilarity ensued. Little was known about the show, as season previews were published, except that it was going to be a smaller part of a non-anime show from the “48 Project” complex of entertainment groups, specifically “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.

Character from an anime that people don't really care about, who nonetheless is trying much too hard to draw attention to herself.

I can’t recall a single season preview from around the Aniblogiverse that pointed out Gokujyo as a potential watch, so I can’t say there was a lot of anticipation, but probably more than a few people took notice on January 16, when the first episode FAILed to air. The second episode was later broadcast, and we have Psgels intrepid reportage: “The entire episode was about someone getting hiccups and trying to get rid of it. Yes, these guys put some thought into this storyline! There were some weird ideas along the way, but they were more disturbing than funny.” And so nobody was probably particularly paying attention when … an announcement was posted online that the third episode will not air as scheduled during Monday’s episode of “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.

This time, instead of an apology during the broadcast, which seemed to irritate the mangaka, prior notice was provided with the explanation that the “stupidity” of the content didn’t justify its broadcast. The reaction has largely been charges that this is a publicity stunt. After all, there has been a lot of really stupid anime produced recently.

I personally don’t think this was a secret plan to drive web traffic or disc sales. I think this was a big screw up on someone’s part. This isn’t a random anime that can be compared against shows like Manyuu Hiken-chou. This show was supposed to be a comedic short that aired in between segments of real 15 year old girls (from SKE48) doing impressions and singing. Somebody made a decision to select this particular manga as the source, and funded production. They did this without thinking through the consequences of pairing real 15 year old girls, with an animated story about perverted things happening in a high school dormitory. Ultimately those responsible for the integrity of the SKE48 brand (and convincing the parents of prospective members SKE48, or any ***48 band, that their daughter would be safe) realized that they couldn’t mix the two.

Gokujyo manga cover. Whose responsibility was it to check the source material before green-lighting production?

Just so I’m clear, I am not against graphic depiction of the human body in states of undress; I did my undergraduate thesis in Art History, and took several studio art classes that included working from a live nude model. I have personally created paintings of naked people, and I personally believe that the human body is one of the most beautiful subjects for artistic representation that can be found. I also think that one of the worst things about fan service is that it is now a formula that lazy anime producers use instead of creating worthwhile content. However, Japanese anime industry obsession with underage girls has led to a precarious justification: “these aren’t real girls”. That justification vanishes when you slip the same material between performances by the likes of Jurina Matsui. Remember the TPO, Time, Place, Occasion!

What do you folks think? Was this an incompetent production blunder that has only served to damage everyone involved? Or is the last minute censoring really a calculated act intended to drive up sales of streams or discs?

Ririchiyo Shirakiin (me of the title) and Soushi Miketsukami (the dog).

This article is a three episode taste test of Inu X Boku (The Dog and Me), a Winter 2012 anime series. I had been interested in this series since Sapphire Pyro wrote about the manga series. On the other hand I was a little unsure because a series about a tiny tsundere who treats the main male character as a dog just doesn’t seem as fresh as it once did. I am happy to say that, based upon the first three episodes, This series has a couple of very positive things going for it. First, Ririchiyo, the main character, isn’t “just” a tsundere. She is quite compelling and believable as a human being. Second, it is the kind of love story that has gravitas. I’ll describe the show in more detail, including both of these points, in the article below the jump.

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Episode 16 of Chihayafuru is mostly a recap episode, but between recap segments we are treated to a number of short gags. These short comedic moments managed to explore some side issues that you might have wondered about, such as where does Nikkuman get all of his T-shirts?

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Need something to make your next Karuta match more exciting? Listen to this.

Those who are watching Chihayafuru already know that the music is one of the many great things this show has to offer. The series features tracks that add a lot of tension, often converting that built-up tension to a more positive emotional outburst. The Original Sound Track (volume 1) is available now, so it is time to start listening to it in earnest to see  what makes it so good. Of course I can’t do justice to an anime OST review, so what follows is just me pointing things out until Anime Instrumentality gives you a proper review. [UPDATE: The review is now available].

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Formal wear for pirates in mourning.

Bodacious Space Pirates (Mouretsu Pirates) was the series I was most looking forward to of the new shows to air in Winter 2012. I am very pleased to see that it has met my expectations. This show has done several things right so far. First, the setting is very interesting; it has the feel of being an advanced space-faring society without being unintelligible, full of magical pseudo-science, or cold. Second, the story, so far, has been far from predictable. And finally, though the cast does feature a lot of female characters, and thus some portions of the show could be categorized as moe, this is not a fan-service show. I’ll discuss these topics more below the jump.

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Aizawa brothers Suguru and Kakeru. Both are on the Soccer team, but in different ways.

This article gives my first impression of Knight in the Area (Area no Kishi) based on episodes 1 through 3. The story is about a boy who is overshadowed by his brother, the Soccer team’s ace. Due to circumstances he is forced to step up and become a great player. Now some people dislike sports shows in general; this show is about Soccer (aka Football), so I don’t expect it to appeal to everybody. I also have one major concern about the source material.

To get to the point, this show hasn’t proven itself yet, although I think it is possible that it will turn out to be a decent watch for some viewers. Despite it’s flaws, Knight in the Area is an interesting show, and I am interested in seeing what Tadashi Agi has in store for us. I’m not a huge sports fan, but I’m not a huge war fan either, and I’ll watch shows about soldiers. The big question is, will this show have a compelling story to tell?

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