While i lie to everyone that i couldn’t care less about the great annual event that takes place in less than 2 hours, i bide my time by blogging instead of biting my nails and rendering myself powerless to practice piano afterwards.

On episodic blogging, or rather the pressures of being an episodic animu blogger

sleep deprivation, the bane of all anibloggers

It surprises me that even while i’m 2 episodes behind, weeks after the end of Xam’d Lost Memories, that the bulk of my hits still rely on searches related to it. But this wasn’t the trigger for this post. The search ‘how does commander kakisu die in xamd’ most certainly was.

The lucky suckers who manage to find my blog (and who are responsible for keeping my stats at 20-30 hits daily) will have noticed that i tend to take a long hiatus every few months or so. Kicking out RL factors (such as exams), the main reason is simply weariness. Episodic blogging that is also substantial and meaningful is a physically and mentally exhausting process. If you also happen to have excessive OCD tendencies (like me), weighing every typed word carefully, revising your post even after publication, plus agonizing over additional errors (that your OCD brain suddenly realizes 30 minutes after you’ve shut the laptop), the whole process becomes very hellish indeed. It takes about 4-5 hours on average for me to churn out a post. Now, considering the fact that i only blog from 2-7am, and that i have to wake up at about 9-10am daily, this makes my sleeping hours a total of…2-3 hours. Panther can very readily attest to this, i guarantee you. What takes the cake is how i have to do this at least 2 times a week, given that i cover at least 2 series at a time (this stopped for a period of time during the Xam’d days). I haven’t even considered the time needed for meta-posts like this yet, although they take considerably less of it to produce.

All this gives me the urge to go the way of  The Animachronism or Anime wa Bakuhatsu da!, where blogging either goes (relatively) backwards in time, skips erratically through different time periods in different directions, or at best posts reviews on current series with a minimum of episodic indications. Additionally, being the spoiler whore that i am, i have to continually resist the urge to check other blogs before i do my own episodic posts to avoid the herding instinct that will almost inevitably follow. Most of the time, i fail to deter myself. Herding is a hideous disease that somehow never gets eradicated. Hell, it spreads like one, too. I find myself in a spot where i prefer to watch at my own leisure (i should), without the pressures of having to stay current – it’s episode XX already?!?! Quick, megapost!! – and give my unadulterated review, period.

And i now (almost) have the opportunity to do just that, thanks to my stupidity. I have almost missed out on the 2 greatest shows of Autumn 2008, God bless Veoh. By pure serendipity, i discovered how much of a mistake i made passing up Toradora and Casshern Sins: in the past 2 weeks i caught the momentous episodes 19 and 21 of each series respectively. I’ll log my deeply seared impressions below.

Toradora: Why we should hail Ami, and not as the Queen Bitch

yeah behbeh, you got that right. Ami DA BOMB!

Thankfully, i was not completely ignorant of either series (thanks to Omisyth), just ignorant enough to know what a dweeb i was. I’ve become extremely jaded of slice-of-life/school-based shows, but this one hit home base.

Interestingly, the impression i had of Kawashima Ami was that of an onion, like Peer Gynt. First layer: glib-tongued model; second: royal queen bitch; third: Ryuji contestant. The climax of Toradora can be summed up in 5 words: revealing true character under pressure. Everyone (excluding Kouji, who knows next to nothing in general) has their patience stretched to the limit, and all disintegrate in differing degrees. Screamfest galore. My onion impressions were pared away instantly, for episode 21 revealed not another layer, but the core of Ami’s character. To put it another way, her behaviour throughout the entire series is based on her frustration at people (in this case Minorin) not letting her in on their real feelings. It’s like a version of the attention-seeking syndrome: if i can’t get to you by being a normal friend, i’ll harass you until you show your true colors, screw it even if you hate me. The fistfight scene between Minorin and Ami was a stroke of genius, because we finally get a solid reason to sympathize with Ami and see her as an extremely misunderstood character. Dare i say the opposite for Minorin? RL has given me an extreme aversion to people who like pretending that everything is fine (this symptom applies to 3/4 of the people i meet) when it is most obviously not. Some say this is a coping mechanism. I say it’s an euphemism for self-delusion.

And of course, i’d be a fool not to mention Taiga’s confession to Ryuuji. It got me thinking about romance shows in general: In shows with plots like this, what are the odds that the characters actually do end up with the object of their initial desires? Very little, from my years of watching anime. Or maybe i’ve watched too little. But the general idea is, the more you get inside a person’s head, the more likely you’re going to have romantic tendencies towards him/her at some point in time. I suspect that Ryuuji was more upset by Minorin’s ‘everything is the way it was before’ charade than by her rejection, because he was pigheaded enough to realize his feelings for Taiga only when she fell down the slope.

Casshern Sins: I am a fantastically big liar

Lyuze is a close second

Speaking of odds and romance, i wonder how i had the good fortune to catch episodes that happened to be a major turning point in the series (actually, every week is a momentous week for Casshern Sins) and had to do with great romantic confessions and getting into characters’ heads. Lyuze finally hooks up with Casshern in episode 18, although i can’t say that’s entirely a good thing since the latter doesn’t appear to know ‘amour’ in its physical manifestation other than stoic hugging. Lyuze, or rather her brain, takes centre stage, complete with opium-esque fantasies, dream sequences and flashbacks. Does it help to mention that the color palette was even more hippie 60s than it usually is? My own head had to process things even faster and deeper than what i did watching Xam’d; a minimum of dialogue, plenty of allegory, which makes every word Lyuze utters a pearl too. I did lulz at the sex scene though, it overdid the job to me.

I should perhaps explain the above title. I caught the premiere of the movie version of Casshern at the not-very-intelligent age of 14, at a national manga competition i was sent to for lack of other victims. I was seriously pissed off with it. I couldn’t handle the color palette change (paltry compared to Sins!) from color to monochrome to sepia and back, or the X-1999-esque ending, or even the fact that they magically conjured robot army from bloody nowhere. Looking back, i think it wasn’t so bad a movie; in fact, since i was insane enough to buy the DVD even though i hated it, i’m willing to try it again sometime. And when i first came across Sins, i was publicly declaring to anyone who’d listen that i’d never watch the show. Let’s revise the title; i am not only a big fat liar, i’m also a hypocrite (because i generally practice open-mindedness elsewhere).

This makes me wonder exactly what other blunders i’ll make throughout the course of 2009.