The Salty Anime Challenge Day 20: What’s an Anime Argument That You Absolutely Hate Hearing?

There are bunch of arguments in the anime world that I’m sick of hearing, but I mostly chalk it up to ‘Eh, to each his own.’ Some ‘arguments’, however, there are just no excuse for – and these are my top two choices.

English Dubs Are All Terrible.

I couldn’t think of an image to put here, so enjoy Haru being adorable.

Growing up with 4Kids and DiC, and the absolutely terrible dubbing jobs some companies did on those early direct-to-video movies in the 80s and 90s, I can totally get how dubs would get a bad rep.

But, guys, this is 2018, why are we still bitching about this? And why are we acting like dubs are the plague of anime?

We have great dubbing companies now. We have incredibly talented voice actors with passion for their work. We have people who care in the industry. It’s not perfect – oh god, no – but it’s massively better than it was back in the day. Yet it’s still incredibly common to hear ‘Ugh, I hate English dubs. They all suck.’

All of them? Really? Come on now.

‘Well, maybe one or two are okay, but the vast majority all suck.’

The vast majority? Is that why dubbing companies are bigger now than ever?

‘They just make bank on the mainstream anime that the plebs watch on Toonami and stuff.’

Mainstream? More anime are being dubbed now than ever too – from obscure to mainstream.

‘Poser anime fans love English dubs. A true anime fan would watch the original.’

Who cares what language they watch it in? They’re still following the story, they engage with the characters, they’re being immersed in the world – they’re enjoying it. You’re a true anime fan if you’re A FAN OF ANIME. I have a friend whose native language is English and lives in the US and he watches all of his anime in a German dub – is he less of an anime fan?

‘No.’

Why not?

‘Because it’s not English.’

(That last part was, word for word, a conversation I had with someone once. They were serious.)

‘But, come on! English dubs have all sorts of censorship!’

This may be true for broadcast releases, but it’s becoming increasingly rare for this to happen at all, especially now that 4Kids is off the anime road. Even if they do, the DVD release is usually uncensored and it’s typically available incredibly quickly.

There was even an instance somewhat recently of a show being censored on broadcast for basically showing child nudity and iffy sexual-ish situations with the visually underage character (Dance in the Vampire Bund – the MC looks like a child when she’s actually over 400 years old because vampire.) People got up in arms over it, and they STILL got the uncensored version on the DVD release first time out.

‘But the acting and voices in English suck so much compared to the Japanese!’

This part of the argument seems to make the assumption that all Japanese versions of anime are well-acted with fantastic voices, and that’s an epic blanket statement. Hardly anyone who makes this argument seems to understand that the original Japanese can be terrible in regards to acting and voice work too.

One of the reasons I hate this one is because so many of the people who say this don’t understand Japanese nor do they really understand Japanese culture, and thus, I have to question, do they really understand what makes for good acting in Japanese? Especially voice acting.

Sure, you can probably tell in big dramatic moments or funny moments where there are instances of intense emotions which version seems better, English dubs are frequently dinged for sounding ‘flat’, but is that just because they’re usually yelling in the Japanese version? Is it because they have a funny inflection to whatever word you just heard?

Remember when people wouldn’t shut up about how bad Naruto’s dub was? It’s actually a really good dub. The acting’s great, there are barely any changes whatsoever, the BG music stays exactly the same and the voices fit extremely well.

‘Naruto’s dub voice is grating!’…yeah…because his original Japanese voice was grating.

‘Sakura’s dub voice is irritating!’…yeah….because her original Japanese voice was irritating. And for the love of god, Naruto fans, you even got to keep your theme songs in Japanese. Do you have any clue how rare that was back then? Especially for the shows aimed towards younger audiences? Geez.

There are sucky English dubs. There are sucky Japanese versions. Neither is inherently good or bad just because they are one or the other.

It’s anime purism at its most annoying. They act like dubbers are out to ruin the beauty and sanctity of their perfect anime’s original form by even thinking about translating the dialogue, or like the disgusting English language could never compare to their glorious Japanese.

You may be wondering why I all of people, considering I compare, analyze and even make fun of the differences between originals and dubs, would make this claim. My SDC series is one of the reasons why I am so adamant about this. I actually have a very hard time finding entries for this series, and nearly all of them are kids shows from the late 90s and early 00s from companies who are infamous for half-assing dubs for money. Even dubs where I’ve heard that they’re really awful, like Sonic X, I’ve tried to do an SDC on and I barely have anything to say.

Not to mention that dubs help anime stay alive not just in the States but around the globe. You should be thankful not hateful.

You’re Not a Real Anime Fan if You Haven’t Seen (Anime)

Oh fuck off.

Is this implying that I could watch thousands of anime but fail as an anime fan because I haven’t seen one or two titles? That’s just ridiculous.

Again, you’re a true anime fan if you’re a fan of anime. End of story. There are no pre-requisites, there are no tests, there is no required reading or watching – even if you’ve just seen a couple of anime and decide that you’re an anime fan now, you’re an anime fan.

I believe there are some major classics every anime fan should watch at least once because I believe they’d really appreciate and enjoy it, but I don’t have a checklist of shows that you need to complete before I grant you your ‘Certified Anime Fan’ badge.

With the English Dub thing we have purism, but here we have pure elitism. This is anime fans trying to lord themselves over others by making them seem more important or validated because they’ve seen the ‘best’ or ‘most important’ anime. I’ve found that anime fans are some of the most inclusive and kind bunch of people you could ever meet, yet we have people who say things like this to make others feel bad.

If you want to suggest things to people, do it. Don’t guilt them into watching things or make them feel like ‘bad fans’ just because you want to feel superior.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 19: Least Favorite -dere Character

Oh the possibilities with this one. Since it’s just -dere and there’s around a billion -dere types, I decided to split this into two entries: One for tsundere and another for yandere.

Yandere – Mayo from Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden

I forgot about her.

I wish I still forgot about her.

For today’s entry, I wanted to be accurate, so I looked up a list of tsun and yanderes on TV Tropes and lookee who I found! One of the world’s biggest irredeemable bitches in animation.

Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden is animated fanfiction. That is not a lie.

Mayo is a whiny little brat who devolves into a massive, malicious, malignant tumor of a person. She starts off the series whining about nearly everything in her life, treats everyone who cares about her like garbage and believes she’s entitled to Taka, the reincarnation of Tamahome and now husband of Miaka, because she had a crush on him for three years.

She hates Miaka because they got together, and she uses the book of the Universe of the Four Gods to become the new priestess of Suzaku, grant her wish of forcing Taka into loving her, magically steals Miaka’s baby from her womb, causes Miaka to go into a coma and doesn’t give a crap about her life, gives zero shits about the danger within the book because the Suzaku Seven protect the priestess and she gives even fewer shits about their lives, sans Taka, threatens to kill Miaka and Taka’s unborn child if Taka doesn’t love her and do what she says—I cannot go through the entirety of all the bullshit she pulls over the course of the four episodes of the OVA.

All that was from ONE EPISODE.

See here for a complete collection of Mayo’s Horribitch moments. Be warned, though – this review is old so the writing’s kinda iffy. Facts are facts, though.

Let me just say….While Yuka from 11Eyes is indeed terrible, Mayo’s on a different level. I can’t believe I forgot Mayo this whole time. I must’ve been subconsciously blocking her from my memory to avoid having a massive rage-induced coronary.

“But wait!” you say “How can she be a yandere where there’s no ‘dere’ side?”

Well, near the end, she pulls a 180 and acts all damaged and sweet and apologetic. And, even though she did some incredibly terrible, horrible, evil things, the other characters all up and forgive her without a thought or a doubt. She’s completely redeemed, ends up helping Miaka save the day and becomes besties with everyone.

Fuck. Off.

I’M CHEATING! 😀 Tsundere – Naru from Love Hina

Ah, Love Hina – one of the most well-known and treasured harem romcom anime. Love Hina was surprisingly popular back in the early 2000s, and it was one of those shows that was everywhere, but moreso in the AMV community. It was always a part of collabs somehow, and nearly every love song, comedy or otherwise, has been put to it.

Why is this entry cheating? I’ve never actually watched Love Hina.

Why am I putting Naru on this entry if I’ve never seen Love Hina? She’s the reason I’ve never watched Love Hina.

I was a part of the AMV scene back in its glory days. I made ‘em, I watched ‘em a lot – it was a fun expression of the fandom. Because of this, I saw a lot of Love Hina clips and learned the basic gist of the series.

The basic gist is that Naru hits Keitaro a lot, usually for no reason. But they’re totally in love and junk.

This series is basically famous for how much Naru hits Keitaro. She’s an OG tsundere.

A clip from AMV Hell 7 sums it up quite nicely. Naru and the others are questioning Shinobu (a young, shy girl) about something. She cries just because they’re insinuating that she might maybe know something about it. Naru, out of friggin’ nowhere, yells ‘Keitaro, this is all your fault!’ and punches him, sending him flying nearly off the porch. Then Keitaro says ‘What did I do!?’ and this sound clip plays.

Seriously, what the hell is her problem? Everything I read about her makes me not want to watch this series even more.

Here are some other stupid highlights brought to you by TV Tropes.

– Once she walks in on Keitaro changing and she punches him anyway! Naru justifies herself saying it was “a reflex”.

– One time, she tries to hit Keitaro on the grounds that he must be thinking something perverted.

– Another time, Tama-chan the turtle has gone missing, and Naru and Keitaro are looking for it. Shinobu has just got home and is changing her clothes, when she is scared by Tama-chan and comes running up to them clad only in her camisole, grabbing Keitaro in panic. He’s too busy trying not to choke to notice her, yet Naru still hits him “just in case”.

– Once ridiculed Keitaro’s hopes of getting with his promise girl on the basis that he’s a spineless dork. Keitaro retaliated by saying that Naru could never get with her promise guy because she’s violent. Instead of realizing how mean she was being, Naru just bursts into tears, making Keitaro feel guilty for something she started.

I’m not sure how much -dere there even is to her. I’ve seen some ‘sweet’ clips of her and Keitaro, but according to what I’ve read, she’s rarely ever nice and stagnates in character development regarding accepting her feelings for Keitaro and refraining from being violent until the very end of the series.

Non-Cheat Entry – Tsundere: Kagome from Inuyasha

Kagome’s not a big tsundere. She’s usually nice, but it is insanely common for her and Inuyasha to get into shouting matches. Plus, there’s the staple of the series in her ‘SIT BOY!’ ability, which creates the physical abuse.

Admittedly, the SIT BOY thing is funnier than the average punches and kicks, considering he’s a dog demon and all, but she’s still slamming the guy into the ground for offenses that are frequently just him putting his foot in his mouth. It was originally meant to keep him in line in terms of stealing the jewel or doing particularly bad things – it wasn’t meant to punish him for not liking a part of the lunch she made for him.

I’ve always found Kagome to be very grating. She screeches a lot, she screams a lot, she’s always yelling Inuyasha’s name and getting into danger so Inuyasha can save her.

I’ve learned to give her more leeway because she’s a teenager girl thrust into a dangerous world. Sango was born and raised a demon slayer, that’s why she’s so badass, and Kikyo was similarly brought up to be a powerful priestess. But Kagome still had plenty of time to get more useful in battle or to become a more interesting character. She does get some moments where her bow and arrow save the day, but it’s almost all Inuyasha and the others.

For the most part, she’s defined by her relationship with Inuyasha. We never learn what she really wants to be in the future or what she likes outside of typical modern day amenities. The only thing she strives to be is a person who stays by Inuyasha’s side, and she becomes Inuyasha’s wife in the end, leaving the present day world behind her. I would ask how that doesn’t massively change the ‘present day’ or her existence, but Back to the Future Part III has taught me that that doesn’t matter.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 18: An Unpopular Anime that Deserves Being Unpopular

I really struggled with this one since I really couldn’t think of a good entry. Either I was thinking of shows that were terrible but had a good following or were not bad enough for me to really get salty over and were barely known.

So I sifted through some stuff and came across something that I think fits well – Dragon Ball GT.

Every franchise has their black sheep, and this is…

….One of them.

Dragon Ball GT is ‘that series we all gleefully accept as non-canon.’ Akira Toriyama even claims it’s just a ‘side story of the original Dragon Ball Series’ Back in the day, before Kai, before Super, before the new movies, this is what we had as our ender for the beloved Dragon Ball franchise.

Admittedly, I found out that, somehow, GT is more popular in the west than it was in Japan, but it still stands as being, by far, the least popular animated entry in the entire franchise and one of the more critically slammed mainstream anime. Even THEM anime reviews only gave it a one star.

I loved Dragon Ball and DBZ when I was younger. Still do, to a degree. And when I heard they were coming out with a new series, I got hyped. When I finally got to sit down and watch the premiere, I was underwhelmed but I kept watching. I watched fairly regularly for about 20 episodes and then it was put in the ‘catch it when you see it on while channel surfing’ bin. I did watch the whole series as it reran….I think. I probably missed some of the dragon ball hunting ‘filler’. I followed the story off and on, I watched the ending and I was very sad that this was the end of DBZ.

It went out with a….

GT got off on the wrong foot right out the gate by having Akira Toriyama almost completely uninvolved in the project. It wasn’t based on any manga he had written for the series and he didn’t do any writing for it. He came up with the name and he designed the main cast character designs.

The aim of the show was to capture the original goofiness and comedy of Dragon Ball while still trying to keep the pace of the intensity from Dragon Ball Z. In order to achieve this, they returned Goku to a child state, which is pointless because he still kept his adult mentality, which is basically just a slightly more mature child mentality, and they include Goku’s granddaughter Pan, who I will rant about later. With them is Trunks, who is a glorified babysitter, and Giro, who can die in a pit.

Together, they travel the universe looking for the black star dragon balls because, if they don’t find them all within one year the earth will explode. You may be asking why such a condition would exist. Well, you’d be one of many.

The focus on the dragon ball search is another aspect they brought on from the original series, but it doesn’t work very well because their adventures are boring and lack the charm and fun of the original Dragon Ball.

Everything about this series just seems blah from the art to the music, which also isn’t performed by the original composer (and included the GT rap. Remember that? No? Merry Christmas!

Mmm look at the CGI Shenron. That is some delicious horribleness. Num num num.)

The characters are shells of their former selves, nearly all of the human characters are so old they don’t get to do a damn thing, even, somehow, less so than in DBZ (Oh wait, Krillin gets to do something…..He dies again….Just as a catalyst to get 18 into the fray.) and the villains are all completely uninspired in both design and characterization. Besides Baby, name two original GT villains. Go.

A good chunk of them are just reworked designs of existing characters like Android 17, Dr. Gero and seven different iterations of Shenron, none of which look good.

Speaking of Baby, he’s basically Kid Buu mixed with Black Water Mist.

Oh well, at least he made Vegeta look like an unrecognizable eye sore.

….Wait, that’s a bad thing.

Oh well, at least he prompted him to shave off his porn stache.

I never understood what they were going for with this look.

I will admit two things – I was always fine with Gogeta, even though he looks too much like Goku, and I thought SS4 looked incredible. The melding with the ape aspects worked very well to me, and I really liked the black and red color scheme….Don’t understand how he got new clothes from the transformation, though. I can justify new clothes through fusion (the clothes fuse too?) but not transformation.

Other than that, though, hardly anything in this series worked, and it ended on yet another ‘Goku’s an asshole husband and father’ note by having him leave AGAIN – this time for 100 years! His wife and children all died in that time and he only came back for his great-great-great-great grandson’s first world tournament fight. You can argue that he had to leave, but there are so many loopholes in that theory I can’t believe it for a second.

And, just because this is a challenge about saltiness, let’s bring up Pan.

Pan, sweetie! Congrats! You’re our first female Saiyan (hybrid at least) in the series! We’ll be sure to give you interesting storylines, some cool unique powers, at least a few awesome fights, and we’ll certainly get you to at least Super Saiyan 1 form…..

Oh wait, no.

No.

We won’t do any of that.

Instead, let’s make you a useless uninteresting pile of child who hardly ever fights, doesn’t do anything to contribute to the main storyline (besides helping Goku control his ape form with her tears…Great, Pan. You’re Princess Peach – one of your main abilities is to cry.) and never…goes….Super Saiyan.

That’s the thing I’ve always been saltiest about with this series. Pan has a desire and ability to fight. Why not at least let Pan to get base Super Saiyan form?

Here are the most common responses I’ve gotten to this question.

– She’s a girl. Girls probably can’t go Super Saiyan.

This one, as sexist and stupid as this is, may have been feasible back in the day, but not now. Today, we know that female Super Saiyans do indeed exist. Their vaginas do not affect their ability to transform.

– She might be too young to do it.

Goten and Trunks did it when they were her age or younger. Granted, they are ½ Saiyan and she’s ¼, but we’ll soon discuss why this isn’t a factor.

– Akira Toriyama admitted that he can’t figure out the design of female Super Saiyans.

This one was the most common response, but again, stupid.

Can’t design female Super Saiyans? Mr. Toriyama, are you saying you don’t have the artistic capabilities of half the people on DeviantArt?

Draw a female Saiyan. Give her spiky blond hair. Change her eyes a little. Boom. Instant female Super Saiyan.

I really just feel like he never gave it much effort or didn’t want a female Super Saiyan until many years down the road where he felt like he had to.

Unless it took him 20+ years to ‘perfect’ the style of the female Super Saiyan.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wiki.

“The main reason why Pan never transformed in GT was because Toriyama never could quite figure out how to draw female Super Saiyans and presumably Toei Animation likewise avoided introducing any Super Saiyan forms for Pan or Bulla so as to avoid creating a design that might contradict Toriyama’s vision should he ever come up with a design for female Super Saiyans, though since Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. resembled their male ancestors they were given Super Saiyan forms as Goku Jr.’s resembles Goku’s and Goten’s Super Saiyan forms while Vegeta Jr.’s is modeled after Vegeta’s as the traits of male Super Saiyans had already been well established by that point.”

All of this just reeks of laziness to me, if it’s accurate. There’s no reason why female Super Saiyans would ever have that much differentiation in their designs than males. And now we know for a fact that there isn’t any difference at all, except MAYBE, just maybe, their eye shape, and that’s slight.

Plus, uh, what the hell do you guys care about visual continuity? I do believe Vegeta, the Saiyan with never changing hair, has a completely different haircut and a porn stache in GT. If female Super Saiyans did have some change to their design between series, just chalk it up to ‘well, pbbt, I dunno.’

Or, hey, make a design of your own and run it by Toriyama. He’s in communication. He’s making some designs.

Also also, you don’t want to screw with the continuity of future Super Saiyan designs when 1) This was supposed to be DB’s swan song and 2) you made SS4 starkly different from how Super Saiyans have been shown so far. I mentioned I liked the design, and the Super Saiyan designs were getting a little insane (SS3 or Caveman Saiyan is laughably horrible) but it just seems so misguided to say you don’t want to screw with Super Saiyan designs when you make the most drastically different Super Saiyan design ever. Even the newer designs are just recolored Super Saiyans, really.

– Pan’s only ¼ Saiyan. Maybe she just isn’t able.

Bullshit.

Case and point – Goku jr. is Pan’s (gauging from the original Japanese) great-great grandchild. Pan’s Goku’s granddaughter. She’s ¼ Saiyan, that means her children would be 1/8 Saiyan, her grandchildren would be 1/16 Saiyan, her great-grandchildren would be 1/32 Saiyan and her great-great grandchildren would be 1/64 Saiyan. Yet both Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr., who is also 1/64 Saiyan, can go Super Saiyan at age, what, four?

The proportions on Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. always seemed weird to me.

It’s understandable that Bulla never did it because she has no desire to fight nor is she trained to do so, but there’s no excuse for Pan.

It irritates the hell out of me and comes off as more laziness that they went ‘well, Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. basically have their Super Saiyan designs already made for them since we copy-pasted their base character designs, so let’s have them transform and never explain why Pan can’t do it.’

It’s just very irritating because Pan was the first ever main-main character who was a girl and a fighter that wasn’t an enemy, but they did nothing with her. 18 at least got to jump into the fight again, but that was much too little far too late.

It’s such a bitch to be a female DB fan sometimes. Really the best female role model in DBZ is Bulma, who is admittedly pretty great sometimes, but doesn’t get to do a lot besides provide technical support. It was also sad to lose her for the dragon ball hunting considering she was the original dragon ball hunter in the series.

GT had an opportunity to be an epic return to form and close out the franchise in a way that would make fans proud. Instead it’s the series that fans reject, and even Akira Toriyama seems to be desperately trying to erase this from any semblance of canon. Toei’s staff tried way too hard to be Akira Toriyama and yet they didn’t try hard enough to match either Dragon Ball or DBZ and completely failed at being a combination of both.

…..Oh yeah, and Uub amounted to nothing special too. Glad those years of abandoning your family, again, paid off for you, Goku.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 17: An Anime You Have No Desire to Watch, Even Though It’s Popular

I’m not sure how popular this is exactly, but it’s a shounen jump anime and it’s on Toonami, so my money’s on quite popular. This was also basically the only one I could think of. Black Clover.

I have nothing against it – I just have no desire to watch it. It looks like someone mixed Fairy Tail with the art style of Berserk…..And that’s not appealing to me, despite liking both.

When it comes to shounen jump anime, I tend to have a soft spot for them. They can be a lot of fun mixed with fantastic action and memorable characters. I basically have the same soft spot for them as I do shounen gaming anime or magical girl shows. I even really like Fairy Tail, even though many people have said that’s one of the weaker shounen jump fantasy series to come out recently.

Sitting down and reading the full synopsis and seeing bits and pieces on advertisements, I have no interest. Orphans….magic powers….oh great, one of the characters is a prodigy. I totally missed talking about that on my least favorite trope entry…..They’re….working to become…Wizard King? Okay now you’re mixing Fairy Berserk with One Piece.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just have no desire to watch it.

My lack of interest probably stems from my increasing maturity and refinement as an anime watcher. I need more…substance, intellectualism….and….deep….feelings of…emotion in my anime. These fantasy tales designed for small human mammals just aren’t enough for me anymore.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch Hamtaro.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 16: Least Favorite OP or ED

This one will probably earn me some enemies, but here we go.

You know what I randomly remembered while I was making this entry? ‘Oh yeah, I hate Lucky Star.’

This is also a great example of me forgetting something that is more deserving of a ‘least favorite’ spot because I’ll randomly remember something more deserving after I’ve posted it.

I made a rough draft list many many years ago about ideas for a ‘Top Ten Worst Anime Themes’ so I thought I’d dig it up for this, and lo and behold Lucky Star’s OP was on there.

But let’s get to that later. What I was mentioning before was the ‘A Popular and/or Hyped Anime that You Didn’t Care For’ category. I chose Kill La Kill for that while completely forgetting about Lucky Star.

I hate Lucky Star. And even I find it ridiculous how much I hate it because I have never watched more than two episodes.

Here’s the deal – I watched the first episode three times, each about one to two years apart. I repeatedly tried to like this show because I kept feeling like I was missing something.

I can’t emphasize enough how massive this show was when it first came out. It was friggin’ everywhere. People ate it up. It was being referenced everywhere, people were constantly making parodies and AMVs about it, talking about it in every anime-related forum thread. When I finally gave it a chance….I didn’t get it.

It was a horrifically boring half hour of inane dribble. Constantly talking about various ways to eat different foods and shooting the shit about stuff so boring that, despite watching it three times, I’d be hardpressed to remember it. It was so…..mind-numbingly…..boring.

I’m no stranger to SOL shows – I know there’s a good chunk of random conversations, but there’s no joke. It was just…..’lol this conversation is funny because…quirky?’ How do you eat ice cream? I don’t care. How do you eat popsicles? I don’t care. How do eat choco-coronets? I. Don’t. Care! When do you eat the strawberry on a strawberry shortca-SHUT UP.

From what I’ve read, it doesn’t get anymore interesting in the ‘passing conversation’ department either. They just talk about stuff in the most boring, brain-rottingly way possible.

“I like anime and talk about it.” That’s great, I do too. Are you going to say anything substantial or funny about it or is your shtick that you love anime?….Thought so.

“I like MMOs and talk about them.” That’s great, I do too. Are you going to say anything substantial or funny about it or is your shtick that you love MMOs?….Thought so.

I couldn’t even get a lock on if it was worth it to keep going. Some people said it sucks for the first half of the series, then gets better – and just as many people said it was the opposite. I think after the last time I watched the first episode, I decided to choose a random later episode to peek at just to see if it does get better. Admittedly, there are more actual attempts at jokes and comedy….but so much of it is just referential humor. It’s the Family Guy or Big Bang Theory of anime…only add about 500% more inane boring drivel.

But no, it’s not that. As I was writing this, I thought more of referential comedy anime that are popular in the west and I came to the realization that, in my opinion, a lot of people don’t find these jokes particularly funny – they make them feel special because they understand the jokes.

I understood that reference
Yo dawg, I heard you liked references, so I referenced a scene that references references in response to a reference and then captioned it in meme-style because memes are like references but worse.

“I’m such a geek that I totally got what they were referencing. If you don’t find the joke funny, it’s because you didn’t get the reference.”

That last line is something I saw pop up in so many positive reviews of Lucky Star. It’s like it’s saying any negative review of the show is invalid because ‘Well, if you don’t like it, it’s just because you don’t get the references. You’re not a big enough anime geek to truly get the genius of Lucky Star.”

I get the references, I don’t get the ‘jokes’. They’re references for the sake of references. Take a look at the TV Tropes page for Lucky Star’s references.

A good chunk of the references aren’t even obscure things geeks would pride themselves on knowing. If I can hipster for a minute, a majority of the references are very mainstream shows. Sgt. Frog, Fate/Stay Night, Full Metal Panic!, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Yugioh and even popular stuff in the west like Street Fighter, Saw and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Most people who even just dabble in the world of anime would at least be aware of these things enough to get the references.

Or is that the point? This stuff is so well-known that many people would get the references in the west too, but anime still not being really ‘mainstream’ at the time, they think they’re geeky because they understand it?

Maybe that’s a cynical view. Maybe I really don’t understand whatever I’m supposed to understand. Maybe I’m just a bad anime geek. I don’t know.

Just recently I was rewatching some episodes of Teen Titans and they had a more obscure anime reference – in Stranded, Beast Boy, in an attempt to reassemble Cyborg, turns him into Giant Robo and then he dresses up as Daisaku and they fly away. And that reference actually had a point because it was a part of a montage of jokes as Beast Boy screws up his assembly.

Then we have the art, which is simultaneously ugly and so overly cute I can feel myself getting diabetes. The characters are all 16-18 years old…..Bull. Shit.

They look like they’re ten, max. The super ultra kawaii desu art makes them look insanely young, and I gotta say, that makes it a little creepy to me. It, in no way, helps that the colors are overly bright pastels with an OP that practically makes you go blind.

Did someone just make a great segue? I think I just did.

The OP is very famous because it was one of the most parodied and overplayed things about the show. Not to mention I fault this OP for the endless string of OP’s with all the characters doing some stupid dance to their theme song. I know some shows did it before them, but I fault them for popularizing it.

Lucky Star’s OP is like Alvin and the Chipmunks learned Japanese, took a lot of meth, suffered brain damage and sang a song written by a three year old. I feel like my teeth are being put into a blender whenever I hear it.

Not only that, but they’re evil enough to have some sections, like the one at .46, where they intentionally do that insanely annoying skipping effect to the audio. At the very least the song is an earworm, but it’s an earworm with razor sharp teeth and acid saliva.

Runner-up: Colorful (The Series) was going to win this before I was reminded of Lucky Star. I’d link to that OP too, but we have a benevolent God and I can’t find just the OP online. You’ve been spared.

Objectively, Colorful’s song is worse mostly because it’s an incoherent mess of noise. It’s like a drunk woman scream-talking a Japanese rap song at a karaoke bar and then jamming an ice pick into your eardrum. However, subjectively, I hate Lucky Star’s more on every level.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 15: What is Something that You Find Yourself Avoiding?

This entry stumped me for quite a while. My approach to anime is usually to give everything a decent chance. Unless it’s just seriously not clicking with me as a whole, I don’t tend to avoid something due to one factor. I’ll even give harem anime the benefit of the doubt by throwing it at least one episode watch.

I guess if there’s something that keeps rubbing me the wrong way though, it’s probably ultra drama romances in anime. Whether the romance is the main focus or not, I just tend to roll my eyes and resist the urge to fast forward when these soap-opera level romances spring up.

And I don’t….really mean the super corny romances like Renton and Eureka from Eureka 7, because they can still be very sweet…..but seriously, I can’t stand the cheese in that show. Wisconsin would tell them to tone down the cheese. I mean the ones that have to constantly include misunderstandings and relationship-ending drama all the time, usually making at least a few people look like complete assholes.

“I should probably tell her I’ve been banging her manager….and kissed a close friend….and another close friend….and slept with her too…and made out with another friend……But she might put out tonight sooooo….” —-”I wonder if I should tell him that I care way more about my best friend and my career than I do my relationship with him. But he might put out tonight sooooo…”

Inuyasha, Fushigi Yuugi, Gundam SEED, Vampire Knight, I’’s, and just to cheat a little, even The Legend of Korra’s first and second seasons suffered because of romance drama, whether these shows are objectively good without the romance or not.

I still never forgave either of them for this. Korra for kissing another guy while on a date with Bolin (You can’t convince me she didn’t realize Bolin was taking that as a real date. She’s not that dumb.) Korra for kissing Mako when he’s dating Asami. Mako for kissing back. Note: He was forced into being kissed, but he clearly reciprocated after. Mako for being a lying bag of dicks who tries to pass the buck after Asami finds out. Blah blah. This whole love triangle BS marred a really great season plot concept otherwise.

I’m not an idiot, I know no relationship is perfect. I wouldn’t want it to be, either. Those overly saccharine ‘love conquers all’ romances are almost as bad. I just prefer realistic romances with likable characters who encounter hiccups that they actually work through, not ones that are forgotten or swept under the rug. Romances where being with the other actually makes the characters grow and mature not stagnate and worsen.

I don’t want couples that do terrible things and act like asstards then end up together because ehhh the series is wrapping up, chop chop kissy kissy. I want them to work for the happily ever after. I don’t want either of them to get together because the writers said so or one or the other is a prize or, god forbid, because the fans demanded it.

I’m not even going to touch upon shipping wars because fuck that mess, especially after the stupidity that was the Darling in the Franxx death threat fiasco – And I’ve never even watched that show! These things can get scarily out of hand. I’m all for shipping whatever you want for any series, but guys, calm down. They are characters, they are drawings – as much as you care about them, they literally do not possess the ability to care about you. You’re barking at a tree.

Also, this isn’t to say I technically avoid shows that have overly dramatic or terrible romances. I either tune them out if they’re on the side or I use them as handy-dandy rant fodder because, dear god, the kinds of ridiculousness this can spawn. You want to see the dark side of people? You don’t need to go to some dark, gory horror anime – You can find them in the romance section. There’s something depressingly poetic in that.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 14: An Anime that Shouldn’t Have Been as Long as it Was

This one was actually easy – Inuyasha.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved Inuyasha…to a point. It was one of those classic anime I got watch in the heyday. But it just overstayed its welcome.

Being fair, Inuyasha merely caught up with the manga at the time, so, like other shows such as Naruto, they spun their wheels until the manga could be finished and then the anime could finish. Problem is that Inuyasha started doing this for quite a while and then got canned because Rumiko Takahashi was also spinning her wheels with the manga. To her own admission, she just didn’t know how to conclude everything, particularly the relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome.

By the way, she made that admission in 2001 (The manga started in 1996). It would take her until 2008 to finally finish the manga. Inuyasha’s original run was between 2000 and 2004. Inuyasha: The Final Act wouldn’t air until 2009.

There was filler, obviously, but that’s not really the main issue.

Even without the filler, which, admittedly, could’ve been a lot worse given the length of the series (35/167 episodes), the main storyline felt like it was dragging on forever. 167 episodes of trying to piece together the jewel and defeat Naraku – two tasks which shouldn’t take anywhere near this long to complete. And that’s it. That’s the main goal. Nearly every new hurdle or enemy just felt like it was an unnecessary detour meant to keep you going in circles.

Compare these goals to the goals of other long shows. For example, Luffy wants to be pirate king in One Piece. This is a very big dream that would obviously take a lot of time and various adventures. As ridiculously long as the series is, I understand why it is still going.

Ash wants to be a Pokemon Master….have you met Ash? That’ll obviously take forever.

Defeating one demon who basically leaves a trail wherever he goes and sticks his nose into everyone’s lives because evil shouldn’t take nearly 200 episodes plus a 26 episode sequel and four movies.

I considered Naruto for this entry because it has over 100 episodes (!) of filler, and it’s a similar case of the series catching up with manga (only with Naruto they kept it on the air with filler until Shippuden was nearly ready) but I’ll come to its defense – I quite like Naruto’s filler episodes usually. I may be in the minority, but they’re typically fun and take the time to focus on other characters and different dynamics. I like having day by day adventures where the action and character interactions are still nice to watch without having the pressure of the main plot butting its head in.

Imagine if they went the way of Inuyasha – it’d be over 100 episodes of nearly catching Orochimaru or one of the Akatsuki members as they travel the villages doing random misdeeds and Naruto demanding to know where Sasuke is.

Inuyasha tends to have boring filler, especially when it centers on Shippo. And let’s not forget those stupid filler episodes that they pretend they tie into the main plot by saying ‘Rrrgh, Naraku’s behind this.’

Like I mentioned in the runner-up section of day 7, Naraku himself is a big contributor to why Inuyasha takes this spot. Naraku’s shtick gets so old and his constant escaping in the nick of time is infuriating. He’s like Dr. Claw. He gets to a point where he’s so cocky and overly evil that you want him to die because he’s so annoying, not because of the terrible things he’s done.

Naraku seems to spin his wheels just as much as everyone else. I really feel like Naraku should’ve died mid-way into the series and a bigger bad should’ve taken his place. It definitely would’ve done the pacing a favor. They have so much buildup to his final battle and, in this series, we never get it.

That’s another reason why I chose Inuyasha – it has a non-ending. It is literally ‘well, our adventures will continue on until we get the full Shikon Jewel and Naraku is defeated, but you won’t see that! Bye everyone!’

I can’t tell you how robbed I felt when the series ended like that – and I stopped following like 30 episodes before then. I’m glad we got The Final Act, but that was still five years of ‘I can’t believe that series bitchslapped me like that. I gave them the best years of my life.’

Naruto ended on a similar note, but they were already in the process of starting Shippuden by then. And it wasn’t so much a ‘bye’ as it was ‘see ya in a while!’ I addition, I don’t feel as robbed when the series basically turns into an episodic show until the very end.

Edit – I had the episode numbers wrong since the filler website included The Final Act for some reason. Fix’d.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 13: A Sad Anime that Made You Feel Nothing

Today’s dishonor goes to H2O: Footprints in the Sand.

This show does a lot to try and make you feel sad. One of the main characters, Hayami, is bullied so much and so harshly by all of the characters in the village, child, adult or otherwise, that it’s insane. She also has a tragic backstory ™, is an orphan (I think?) because of it, and is severely psychologically damaged by her situation.

Hirose, the main character in this dramatic harem, is blind, became blind through psychological trauma in his tragic backstory ™ in which his mother commits suicide right in front of him. He gets better but then there’s a tragic plot twist that reveals he never was better. He becomes emotionally broken and basically becomes a walking vegetable. Then he gets better. The love of his life kills herself in a manner identical to how his mother killed herself, all to….cure his…blindness….and then…he gets better….and…..she…gets…better?

Hinata has a tragic backstory ™ with her grandfather being a horrible bastard. Her life and identity aren’t even really hers – they were thrust upon her by her grandfather who basically ‘killed’ her off in order to have her take the place of the person who really died.

Otoha has a tragic backstory ™ Long story short –

Even people not in the H2O circle (Hinata, Hayami (interchangeable Hirose) and Otoha, get it?) have tragic backstories like Yui whose grandfather died because Hayami’s family refused to give him medical treatment because Yui’s family was poor.

….Did I mention this is based off of an H-game? That’s probably important. Who wants to try to get turned on while wading through a sea of tragedy and horrible circumstances? There are no hentai scenes or anything close here, so you’re just left with an overly dramatic harem anime that is unabashedly sad.

Thing is, even though I enjoyed most of the show well enough, barring the last three episodes, I never felt sad. There were a couple decent heartwarming moments, but sad? No. Not once.

I don’t know if I was just numb to it very quickly or if they were obviously doing their best to make everything as tragic as possible from the get-go while still having an unrealistically happy ending where damn near everything is fixed so I just felt like….Have you ever seen something that is obviously overly dramatic and sad to the point where your reaction is more ‘wow, what the hell?’ than it is sadness?

It’s hard for me to have a legitimately sad response to all of this soap-opera-esque tragedy. And it just snowballs as the series goes concludes until the snowball gets hit by a train.

Read my original review for the full stupid insanity of the last three episode of the series, but trust me, it’s just sad event after sad event.

And I still don’t feel remotely sad. If anything, I got pretty angry and confused as the series ended simply because I couldn’t believe the stupidity of it all.

Sad, however, no. They’re just trying way too hard.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 12: Least Favorite Male/Female/Sidekick Character

This one kinda confused me because ‘sidekicks’ in anime typically refers to animals, but the fact that it includes ‘male/female’ makes me think it means human character, like best friends such as Krillin or Kuwabara (examples: I love those two) (Also, I’m aware animals have sexes. It’s just that you usually don’t bring up that differentiation when talking about animals, so I got confused.) Soooooo, I’m gonna do both!

Animal Sidekick – Plue from Rave Master and Fairy Tail

I feel slightly guilty about this once since Plue, unlike a lot of animal sidekicks, actually serves battle purposes in both Rave Master and Fairy Tail – plus, he serves as a rave stone detector in Rave Master. However…..I friggin’ hate this thing. When he’s not being a tool of battle, Plue is a creepy, perpetually trembling little snowman….thinger who shrivels and has a weird manner of speech. He’s just overall unsettling to watch. I hate his face, I hate his ridiculous proportions (his neck should be all kinds of broken) I hate the way he eats, I hate his soulless black eyes – I hate him.

I was always annoyed by him years ago when I watched Rave Master, and I thought I was going crazy when he suddenly appeared in Fairy Tail years later. Why would this creepy little bastard warrant a cross-series revival?

Middleground Entry/ Runner-Up

Shippo from Inuyasha. Not sure….where he would place because he’s like half animal half person. Shippo just annoys the hell out of me. He helps out in battle kinda, but his only real point in usefulness is transportation as a big balloon thing. He has what should be an incredibly useful transformation ability but they barely ever use it. Shippo is an annoying little brat who doesn’t really grow or develop at all over the series, even in The Final Act.

Human Sidekick – Sakura from Naruto

I am so original.

Note, I mean the first series. I know she gets more useful in Shippuden…..but she still doesn’t get….quite……useful enough.

Not to mention that all this time has gone by and I still have yet to hear her doing anything that would be deemed really awesome or impressive. She pulled off a really difficult medical procedure once or twice, and that’s all I heard. I’m trying to watch Naruto not House. But I’m not going to harp on her later versions because I’m not caught up nearly enough to give a strong rant there.

Let’s just focus on the original Sakura. She is obviously a very easy target, but I can’t help it. And, sure, you can argue she’s not a sidekick…..but she totally is. If Naruto and Sasuke are the main focuses, Sakura is a sidekick. She’s useless in nearly every battle situation and constantly gets saved by one or the other.

Sakura’s character is based fully on her crush of Sasuke – a crush that should’ve died out as time went on, but dammit she is the most determined fangirl ever. I was astounded when I heard they actually got married – and trust me that’s a rant for another day. She is obsessed with him, but he doesn’t return her feelings at all. She loves him, but she doesn’t really know him. All she knows is that he’s cool and hot and says angsty things, which are totally dreamy.

She grew out her hair long for him since she heard from the grapevine that he likes girls with long hair, and she broke ties with her best friend for several years because they got into a fight over him (and that rivalry really only fizzled out completely once Ino got with Sasuke stand-In, Sai. Between that and Ino later become a medical-nin too, I can see why she’s gained a reputation as living off of Sakura’s scraps)

But like any interesting and well-written character, she has a sad backstory. Her ‘sad backstory’ is that she was picked on for having a big forehead…..and it’s not even noticeably large. Aw, why don’t you go tell Sasuke that sob story as he mourns over the mass Uchiha grave? Or maybe you can tell orphan Naruto about it while he’s being treated like a literal monster by everyone in the village for something he can’t control, doesn’t understand and doesn’t even know about.

Speaking of Naruto, she treats him very poorly. Everyone treats Naruto like crap, and he can be very annoying, especially in the first series, but when one of the first lines you hear out of a character’s mouth is a completely unwarranted ‘And I hate Naruto!’ when the poor kid is just sitting there, it’s hard not to instantly dislike her.

She’s always putting him down and punching him in the face and treating him like dirt. Sometimes, he deserves it, but it’s frequently unprompted and unwarranted.

Sakura’s main talents are in her chakra control, which isn’t useful for anything worth a crap in this series (for her anyway) and only benefit her in Shippuden and Boruto, and…..she’s….smart. I guess. That’s about it.

While everyone else, even flash in the pan characters, usually get a shining moment of badassery, Sakura gets two moments of ‘wow, are you kidding? That’s supposed to be badass?’

The first is when she is captured by the enemy. One of them has her by the hair. They don’t think about restraining her arms because why bother? This is Sakura. But then, in a shining moment of implied badassery, she grabs a kunai and cuts her hair….yup. That’s it. She cuts her hair.

Look, I get what this moment is really about, okay? As mentioned before, she grew her hair long because she heard Sasuke likes girls with long hair. This moment is supposed to not only be a show of her trying desperately to be useful (that is one of the points of this whole scene since she’s tired of Sasuke, Naruto and even Rock Lee coming to her rescue) but it’s also about her proving that she’s not just a Sasuke obsessed fangirl and that she’s a strong konoichi and blah blah….because hair doesn’t grow back, right? You’re not Guts, Sakura. You didn’t lop off an arm.

This moment doesn’t even have that weight to it because Sakura probably realizes at this juncture that the long hair thing was a stupid rumor because Sasuke has no interest in romance or attraction. He’s dead set on revenge.

Then there was her second moment of implied badassery in her ‘epic’ fight with Ino which was by far the most boring match of the whole chunin exam tournament.

They gave her nothing to do and nothing to be in the original series. I’ll definitely say she matured as the series went on as she’s not as much of a Sasuke fangirl by the end, but it’s just not enough by a long shot.

PRE-POST EDIT: I’ve been doing some entries backlogged, and after writing this entry, I found Fueled By Smiling’s entry and apparently this one was supposed to be Least Favorite Male Character, Female Character and Sidekick Character, not different versions of sidekicks…..So….I dun goofed….

I think I covered that here, though, for the most part, and this entry is pretty long, so I’ll just chuck a short blip for male characters. Add Hercule from DBZ and Touya from White Album.

I hate people who take credit for something other people have done, and Hercule takes all of the credit for the Z fighters’ accomplishments. He’s a massive coward with a massive ego, and that combination easily pushes my anger button. At least he tamed Buu and is kinda nice, but I can’t get beyond the glory theft aspect.

Touya’s basically Makoto from School days, but he arguably does worse. Arguably. They’re neck and neck. At the very least, Makoto dies. Touya ends up with a happy ending…. See here for full details.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 11: Least Favorite Art Style or Art Technique

This one’s a toughy because I tend to have a lot of respect for varying art styles, even if they’re not my cup of tea. I’ll tackle this one with three pet peeves in art styles.

1 – Pointless blushing and/or red on shoulders and knees.

This isn’t a terribly common thing, but whenever I see it I get instantly irritated. In some art styles, the artist will have a near perpetual blush on the character’s faces. A good example of this getting to seriously annoying levels is Saikano.

I just don’t understand the point. It looks so awkward. Why are these characters always blushing? Even when literally nothing is happening. Blushing is meant to indicate surges of emotions like embarrassment, love or even having a fever or something. When characters are always blushing, it loses its desired effect and just becomes a nuisance. It’s a shame – I love Saikano and yet this never fails to bug the crap out of me.

Similarly, some shows will add a red or pink shiny sheen to shoulders, knees, elbows and cleavage for no reason. This also isn’t terribly common, but it’s irritating because this makes even less sense to me.

At least I understand what a blush is. What the hell is this sunburn/rash stuff? Why do these characters have shiny red and pink spots on their bodies? What is the point? I can maybe justify adding this stupid effect to boobs….because…boobs, I guess? Gotta make ‘em…..prettier?

I inadvertently looked up the reason why this exists while trying to search for images for this entry, and the most common answer was that it’s meant to show that there’s a good amount of blood flowing to these parts of the body in order to signify that the girls are ‘fresh, lively, healthy and attractive.’….I’m sorry, I’m getting none of that. These spots make these girls look burned at best and diseased at worst. That is in no way attractive.

2 – Pointy Face

Careful when we kiss. We might accidentally slit each other’s throats.

Pointy face is most commonly a major problem, it seems, in yaoi and shounen ai anime – especially if its from the 80s or 90s. The characters will usually have boxy torsos with long lanky limbs and, you guessed it, sharp pointy faces.

I don’t get why anyone would find this appealing. Isn’t this genre largely based on fanservice and eye candy? Why is this style so common here? It is fugly. It’s is always worse on the bishies, too. It’s like someone used the smear tool in an image editor on them before sending them off to print.

I know art for males is usually more about sharp lines and angles than female characters, but there’s a limit. I shouldn’t be able chop wood with a character’s face.

3 – Specifically with XXXHOLIC, but really any style where the characters have long thin appendages.

I don’t usually avoid shows on art alone. However, I have avoided XXXHolic for that very reason. This art style for the characters (everything else is gorgeous) is very unsettling to me. It’s just so weird. I feel like, should these people exist in real life, I’d be constantly worried about their safety. Like they’d be in continual danger of breaking a bone.

It’s a shame because people highly praise this show and I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I can’t ignore the character designs. And I’m afraid a big plot twist is that they’re all secretly spider people.

This isn’t limited to XXXHolic, while it is the greatest offender to me. Many shows seem to subscribe to the idea that big heads and stick bodies work. You’ll see this with some of cheap harems and ecchi shows. The girls need big heads to show off their huge eyes but they also need lanky stick bodies because people don’t have enough body image issues.