The Anime Pulse #24 – It’s Not D’Anime… It’s D’Struggle

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Anime Pulse! I used my last column as a bit of a self-promoting soapbox so for those who don’t care for such a thing, I decided to do a second column that focuses on, well… you know.. anime! There have been several things going on in the anime world as of late that I want to touch upon so let’s just jump right into the fray, shall we?

It’s Hard Being a Gangsta.

Kohske’s series about two mercenaries for hire, Nick and Worick, has been pretty popular among anime fans. A lot of people felt it was a breath of fresh air in the anime world to cleanse us from the stench of shonen battle series after shonen battle series. Despite its high acclaim, however, studio behind the project, Manglobe, closed its doors after filing bankruptcy because it couldn’t pay its debt of 555 million yen! (Ouch!)

It left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths because the first season ended on a cliffhanger which set up a second season so unless another group purchases the license, Gangsta. may just fall into the eternal dark abyss of anime shows in which a sequel never sees the light of day! At least we still have the manga, right? Well… it was also recently announced that Kohske is putting the manga on hiatus due to her poor health. The worst part is that there is no return date announced so we have to wait for the author’s health to recover in order to see the continuation of the plot.

Now, I’m not trying to insinuate that the author’s health isn’t important here. I truly do wish her a speedy recovery in whatever it is that ails her. I’m simply stating that this hiatus is ill-timed because it happened just a mere two months after the anime ended and Manglobe announced it was going bankrupt. I know that life is life and it will life you to death, but the aura of bad luck around this series is pretty strong. It’s a shame, too because this is a great series.

My suggestion if you’re an anime-only viewer. Go read the manga up to its latest chapter and then send Kohske a get well message. I’m sure she would like to see the support of her fans during this luck-ridden time. The sad part is that none of this is her fault, too.  That’s just they way life goes sometimes.

It Starts and Ends With Someone Being Arrested

So I had an idea for The Outerhaven and I went to put that idea into action and after about four pages of me typing the same thing over and over I decided to hold off on that idea and rethink it. So what is this idea that I’m babbling incoherently about?

Anime News Roundup!

If you’re an anime fan then you know that actual, true anime news is scarce. It’s why I don’t post a lot of news on the site unless it’s something really big or noteworthy. If you look at the majority of news out there it’s about X series manga starts. Y series manga ends. Random Guy A gets arrested for posting X and Y online, Z show gets a musical, Z show gets a promo trailer, Here is Z show’s cast in full costume, etc. etc.

There really isn’t much in the way of major announcements. Things like the live Bakuman movie getting announced is big. New series getting green-lit is big, but after that, it’s mainly a lot of news tailored to Japanese fans (well DUH, this stuff is being shown in Japan afterall). What I mean by that is the Japanese fandom cares about stuff like cast members, voice actors, and the like. So a story about Voice Actor A set to play the role of Character B is big news to them. There are groups dedicated to certain voice actors and artists and if they can rally behind and support them, then news like that is important to them. To us Americans who just enjoy watching anime, not so much. Sure, there are probably American otaku out there that actually do care about some of them… I actually am a fan of some voice actors and think it’s awesome to see them in new roles, but when you’re reporting for a news site whose audience is mainly comprised of American geeks, news stories like that don’t really seem to fly well.

On the subject of mangas starting and ending… there seems to be a plethora of them every single week. In fact, when I tried the news roundup post, almost two full pages consisted of nothing but that. I felt myself repeating my words a lot and it was really difficult to try and make every announcement sound unique. Not to mention it was incredibly tedious.  The thing about the manga industry is that series can come and go in a heartbeat.  I know Bakuman is a work of fiction, but it’s pretty close to how the manga industry actually works.  If you’re not popular enough, your series will get chopped at the next serialization meeting and replacements will be found to fill the pages of the magazine.  It’s just how it goes so for every manga you see end, another one is set to begin which is why news sites become saturated with these kind of stories.

The idea isn’t dead, but the point I’m trying to make here is that… damn.. for the most part.. anime news kind of sucks for people outside of Japan. I will try and rethink it and see if I can condense a lot of these stories into individual posts.  Maybe even have posts dedicated to a certain topic so people can find that information in one place.  Like listing just the mangas that are starting and ending in one post would be helpful to someone who wants to know that information and doesn’t want to wade through archive after archive looking for individual posts.  I’m playing with it and if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them, too.  Remember The Outerhaven is your site as much as it is ours!

Doing the Harem Shake

Fellow Outerhaven colleague, Clinton Bowman, and I were having a discussion the other night and it became the base idea for this column. We were talking about harem animes and how there are just so little that can pull this off in a bearable sense. Most of the time a harem anime will put a male protagonist in the middle of a cast of female characters and either all of the females will want the male with the male being completely oblivious, or the male will want all the females and they all think he’s disgusting, but secretly, deep down inside, they want him, too.

However, some shows have tried to mask the fact that they are harems. Bet a lot of people didn’t really consider Sword Art Online to be a harem anime, but when Kirito has the attention of Asuna, Leafa, Sinon, Silica, and Lisbeth, it’s pretty much a harem. They disguise it by placing the emphasis on the story and the world around them, but when every girl Kirito comes across shows signs of affection, then, sorry, it’s a harem. Maybe it’s not a TRUE harem in the sense that we’re used to or as I described above, but it’s there. Kind of like how Kill la Kill cleverly disguised itself so no one would think of it as a magical girl anime when, in reality, it is.

Only when a harem is disguised can I truly enjoy it. I’ve watched some pretty annoying harem animes such as IS: Infinite Stratos. I trudged through the first season and decided to give the second season a chance. I couldn’t last more than two episodes before I got incredibly bored with it. I just didn’t care about what was happening in the series anymore. When the first couple of episodes were nothing but fanservice with some plot sprinkled about, it just became unbearable to watch. I also gave High School DxD a shot and only lasted a couple of episodes on that as well.  In fact, the only harem anime that I’m trudging through because I promised I would is Shinmai Maou no Testament and it’s sequel BURST.  I’m sorry, but this series is just borderline hentai… in fact, I’m sure there are already websites dedicated to hentai doujinshi, games, and the like for this series.  The plot itself is so generic and shallow it’s truly horrible and if it weren’t for the promise I made to my readers, I would have dropped this series a long time ago.  Remember, I’m doing it for you guys!

Even though I am a bit jaded towards the genre, there are some that live and die by it, though. I know this because I’m friends with someone who loves harem animes as well as moe lolicon ones as well. (Seek help, Charlie!) I know that it has its place, but it’s not for me. I do enjoy romantic comedies, but harems just seem so forced. The situations are, generally, always predictable and not a lot of true harem shows offer much in the way of game-changing scenarios or stories to help break the stereotypical mode. It’s as if harem were a dough and you had a cookie cutter cutting out anime after anime after anime and being placed inside a harem oven to bake until it becomes marketable.  I guess if it sells… it sells even though I’ll never truly understand why.

Great, now I want cookies…

Be that as it may, that’s going to do it for me this week. If you would like to drop me a line with any comments, feel free to do so by sending them on over to joshpiedra@theouterhaven.net. Also if you feel inclined to do so, consider following me on Twitter @PulseIn.

Until next time,

Ja ne!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.