OK, so the first minute, basically a long set-up for a pun, absolutely sucked.

Then I skipped the OP because I don’t usually watch one until the third episode or so.

As for the next scene, it reminded me that I’m really quite tired of this whole database thing.  I mean, I get it, and I guess I like it (why would I be watching anime if I didn’t like these character types) but I’d much prefer if they tease us a bit, maybe confuse us as to which character will end up being what kind of person.  The way anime works nowadays it’s like each character has a banner on their forehead (I’m a the smart one!)  (I’m the sort of plain girl that will be the main character!)  (I have straight black hair!) usw.  It’s really ridiculous.

The highlight of the scene for me was the discussion of beef bowls.  I remember accompanying women to beef bowl shops in Japan because, as the characters in the show say, it’s considered a guys’ place and women going in alone feel very uncomfortable (yet some of them do love their beef bowls, and thus escorts are required).  The topic got me to thinking about several nice beef bowls I had in Japan (Yoshinoya) and before I knew it a few more minutes had passed.

By the time I snapped out of my nostalgia, they were discussing fashion.  The dialogue isn’t at all clever, the observations are not even remotely witty, and the girls are not wearing skimpy outfits.  What gives?!  The target audience for this show must be men who are into sound porn.  I figure they close their eyes and listen to all these women pretending to be younger etc.  Personally, I think Panty & Stocking is much better for sound porn.

I’d never heard of these Chinese pajama-on-the-street thing, and in my visit to China I never saw it, but I actually saw plenty of it in Thailand.  I’d be in a 7-11 and suddenly a customer would come into the shop in his/her pajamas, and carrying car keys to bot.  I don’t know if the action carries the same meaning or not, though.  It just might.

You know a comedy group is sucking at references when one of them actually says: “No one’s gonna get this reference!”  Of course, the comedians are totally expecting some people to get the quote unquote obscure reference, and then explain it to their friends, and then have everyone giggle and think how they’re all so clever.  How very clever (pukes).

I have to admit I enjoyed one of the dog puns [ii no?].  So that’s about 1 out of 27 puns.  Bad ratio.

The shouting at the sea thing sounds kinda risqué, but it falls flat.  I’ve noticed some people have got this all wrong so let me go through it (BTW, some say the manga’s arrows ran somewhat differently, but what do we care..):

1) Give us back our land = Russia (refers to the southern Kurile Islands, occupied at the end of World War II and still claimed by Japan; this is not a reference to Manchuria, people, let’s not get overly paranoid)

2) Give us back our people = North Korea (refers to Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang many years ago)

3) Give us back our technology = China (if you extend the arrow it might touch South Korea a bit, so this one might be killing two birds with one stone)

4) Give us back our underwater resources = East China Sea (Japan is upset at Chinese development of underwater resources in the East China Sea; submarine ships are not in discussion here)

5) Give us back the people’s money = Japanese Diet in Tokyo (self-explanatory, what a let down huh)

Why do I say this falls flat?  Well, if you know anything about nasty Japanese subculture (and as an anime fan, I know you do) you’ve realized that South Korea is often a target for attack, almost the favorite I would say.  And the powder keg in that relationship is the territorial dispute over the so-called Liancourt Rocks.  These go unmentioned.  Already people in 2ch are berating the show for chickening out with regard to South Korea.  And though I realize the “land” issue was already used on Russia, I’m sure the girls could come up with something spicier than the mild “technology” issue which, as I’ve said, is anyway likely mostly directed at China.

And then where’ the USA??  The girls have just said that “give us back” can cover pretty much the whole radius of Japan, and they fail to take a swipe at the military-base-building behemoth to the east?!  My Dad always says “Either do something right or don’t do it at all”.  Joshiraku, you fail at ultranationalism, and you fail at pretty much everything else.  But at least you’re not alone (re: Kokoro Connect).

~ by Haloed Bane on July 10, 2012.

25 Responses to “Joshiraku”

  1. Oh? Guess I’ll cancel that download then.

    • Man, just cancel the darn season.

      • Naw man, there’s good shit. Natsuyuki Rendevous, Tari Tari, and Sword Art Online all had solid openers.

        • I’ll wait for you to watch a couple more episodes of each and then tell me if they remain solid..

        • Having just watched SAO’s opener, I just want to chip in to say that it is so goddamn stupid I think I may have to invent an entirely new scale to grade it on. I mean, I like to think I have a pretty strong ability to suspend my disbelief, but the sheer density of complete and total gibberish you have to accept for the premise not to fall apart under its own weight has to be setting some sort of record. @_@

          (Well, of course I’m still going to watch it- what else do we have?)

          Or, maybe I’m being unfair because I loved .hack//SIGN, and this is nothing like it.

          • Man I have no idea what you’re talking about. All they did was close all the possible loopholes in the premise so that you wouldn’t have to think about them, and the story could just go on in its closed environment. I thought it was brilliant to get so much out of the way at once, and in a way that made sense.

            • Eh, nah. Every time they tried to plug a hole they added three new ones. All they really achieved was to draw attention to the holes that were already there, and gumming up the flow of the opening episode with a lot of clumsy (and, ultimately, probably irrelevant) exposition.

              “You are now stuck in an MMO. Adventure!” is pretty silly- but it’s silly all in one big lump, but it has the advantage of being fast and giving the viewer enough space to come up with their own theories. “You are now stuck in an MMO- DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS.” Just gives the audience more stuff to pick apart.

              • I am extremely curious about what specific plot holes you saw.

                • Alright, I had to rewatch the episode to compile this, I hope you’re happy 😛

                  First, technical problems:
                  • There’s no hardware-layer fallback for disengaging the headset? Even if the engineers didn’t think to add that, it almost certainly would have been stopped at compliance testing. As would the capability to fry your brain if something goes wrong. The brain’s magnetic field is measured in the femto-pico tesla range, so I… think you’re looking at several orders of magnitude difference between stimulation of neurons and destruction. Hmm. Electromagnetic radiation is not my area, nor is neuroscience. And then you have different energy penetration gradients depending on the wavelength… but at the end of the day, quibbling about the details is moot, because any standards body looking to approve a microwave emitter next to the brain, in a consumer product, is going to want double and triple safeguards in place to prevent this exact scenario- bad software frying your brain– from ever happening. You could get around this problem by proposing backdoors in the hardware or hacky software fucking with the controls, but that would require an in-depth detailing of this fictitious technology (i.e. more exposition) before we could debate the plausibility of that. Or, you could bribe people- though personally I consider any solution that relies on human elements behaving in a certain, specific way to be highly unreliable by default. Just a bias of mine, I guess.
                  • The battery thing: you can’t unplug it, because it’s got a battery! :V So, what, it’s an infinite battery? Are these things powered by nuclear cells? Alright, this is an easy fix: have the headset fry you when it detects the battery has fallen below a certain level. Though, of course, you could always unplug it and rip out the battery…

                  Logisitical problems:
                  • An MMO, especially a triple-A, all bells and whistles one, is a massive undertaking, requiring a vast investment of time, money and manpower. These projects can, and have, sink large, established developers. This, as an aside, is a problem which isn’t likely to go away with increasing tech, as the bottleneck is content. {insert digression here on the merits and difficulties or procedural content generation blah blah SAO appears to be nothing more adventurous than the same derivate UO/EQ/WOW/Lineage shit we’ve been dealing with for decades now blah blah Mu’s MMO rants blah blah etc.} So our evil mastermind here is an employee of a company, and his evil scheme is hosted on their servers. Servers which will be in a known, public location. Hiding a routine to disable logging out? …alright. Code like that’s a big place. Evil mastermind wresting control of program and servers from his employers? …now my eyebrow is raised. Government not seizing said servers within half an hour of this kicking off? Now my eyebrow has fallen off the top of my head and I will require surgery to replace it. And then we have the problem of server downtime and maintenance…
                  • Even if we handwave all the technical problems and assume that these headsets enter circulation, all the clever safeguards against tampering working just fine, we have to accept the idea that any engineers the government has working on solving the problem won’t be able to find some way to circument, subvert or otherwise disable them despite having plenty to examine, quite possibly a full technical specification and blueprints and actual literal months of time.

                  That’s about everything that occurs to me at the minute. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed, I’m in a bit of a rush. 🙂

                  • The evil mastermind was stated to be the one who designed the headset things in the first place. If anyone was going to know how to hack them or program in some kind of failsafe override that slips under the manufacturer’s radars, it would be the inventor, especially if he’s the only one who completely understands the technology or some shit. It’s enough to suspend my disbelief.

                    The battery idea was that if you unplug the headset, the backup battery will have enough time to fry you before you can rip it out.

                    Now the MMO thing, that is definitely a problem. I don’t know how this guy “created” the world exactly, how the game is hosted, et cetera. There’s a chance this may be explained later, and there’s also a chance that it’s some part of 2022 technology that bypasses the pitfalls of 2012 technology. As for resting control from employers, though, I’m pretty sure this guy *is* the employer.

                    It’s entirely probable that the coming episodes will follow the real-world governments reactions to this. Most likely, people in-game will have some kind of land line to the outside world or some shit.

                    Or, alternatively, none of it is ever mentioned again, and it was only meant to suspend our disbelief enough that we understand the premise, and can move on, not needing to think about it. Either way works for me.

  2. Like many, my first reaction of hearing about the “give us back” joke (back when it was manga) was: why not USA?

    The “Chinese pajama-on-street thing” is real. I can see them in my city every day.

    • Wow, cool to know. I’ve only been to Xiamen for a couple of days, and didn’t see it. What a lovely place Xiamen is though. If I was rich enough to buy 4 houses, one of them would be there.

  3. You’ve actually managed to make me a wee bit curious with your damning review. Maybe I’ll catch an episode before it’s cancelled!

    • Wow. Maybe that was my perverse goal. To trick people into watching this horrible show.

  4. Great now I don’t have to watch this. Fags get too excited over cultural content.

    • I think cultural content is great, but there’s far too little of it here and what there is is poorly handled.

  5. Everyone on twitter was talking about how scandalous and ultranationalistic this was, I was thinking “what are you guys talking about?” A total cop out. This reminds me, I still need to finish Diebuster.

    • It’s all paranoia and (sometimes) fake paranoia. What is the probability of a Japanese strike against China or either of the Koreas in the next 50 years? 0. Less than 0. Minus -0. And if it happened, what would be the result? The death of Japan. So what’s the big deal?!

      I thought Diebuster so-so but I liked the ending. Actually, I remember liking the beginning and the ending, and not so much the middle.

  6. If it sheds any light, the manga’s written by one Koji Kumeta, more infamous for his Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. So yes, the rest of the show will likely be bad puns, bad puns, and satire.

    That being said I still enjoyed it more than expected; although I’d chalk it up more to SZS withdrawal than anything…

    • I could see how if you really liked what he’d done before, and hadn’t gotten your fix in a while, you’d be able to enjoy this. Kind of like I enjoyed Ozma 🙂

  7. Episode 1 was a disappointment, I didn’t get most of puns. Enjoying Binbougami 😀 Anime puns I can understand.

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