Well these last few weeks have been real busy for me, haven’t they? Between vacationing into colder areas that my immune system was totally not trained for and starting a new job in the city, it’s a wonder that I’ve been able to keep up with as much as I have. Not helping at all is the fact that I’ve also committed to starting a bunch of new projects for my fourth year of blogging and now my time to look at shittily animated titties is more limited than the warranties on Google products. You guys better be grateful for me taking time off from catching up with Modern Family or getting more involved with Steam or doing some actual cooking around here in favor of this shit, because despite rumors to the contrary, it’s not just something anyone can do and compromises have to be made. In fact, I’m compromising right now by squishing together three separate products for this week’s review with no laziness involved whatsoever.
Having said that, let’s look at Inside Out first. Hyped up to be Pixar’s big comeback film after their last few offerings were like watching direct-to-DVD Disney sequels with big budgets, Inside Out is about a small girl named Riley dealing with the emotional problems of growing up and moving to a new home ala Spirited Away except the fantastical world happens inside of her rather than around her. In fact, she’s not even the true main character. The real star of the show is Joy, a living emotion who always tries her best to keep Riley happy whilst selfishly trying to keep the emotion, Sadness, from interfering because she doesn’t think negative emotions is something Riley should ever experience and she’s a selfish bitch like that. However, during Riley’s first day at school, Joy and Sadness are accidentally thrown outside of the command center that allows them to influence her thoughts, leaving the other emotions to try and influence Riley on their own. And let me tell you right now, if there’s one thing you don’t want to see Lewis Black have an influence on, it’s eleven-year old girls.
No one goes to Pixar for a term paper on the human condition of course, but whilst Pete Doctor is skilled on both a visual and emotional level, he can never quite deliver when it comes to telling a really compelling story, and Inside Out is no exception. Whilst it executes the portrayal of a young girl experiencing the pains of growing up really well and there are some really good body jokes on a written and visual level, it falls under the same trappings as Millennium Actress in that it doesn’t actually say anything about its subject matter that I don’t already know. There was one point when Joy and an imaginary friend that looks like a cross between Dumbo and Mr. Mint from Candy Land became trapped in an abyss of forgotten memories never to return that leads to a particularly clever visual metaphor that resembled the more emotional moments in Toy Story 2, but the rest of the film is just everything standard about Pixar movies with none of the “special” substance that stands out from their good stuff.
Sadness being a necessary part of life along with the hypocrisies of wanting to always be happy is kind of a default story in regards to children’s programming these days and the other potentially more interesting ideas surrounding it are not delved in enough to make up for that. It’s just a fun movie at the end of the day, and it’s a shame because it could have easily been so much more than that. So whilst Inside Out gets my recommendation, particularly if you’re a fan of animation in general let alone Pixar, the chances I’ll be purchasing it is very nil. At least compared to…
Whilst the first film was a snore-worthy spectacle-fest that many consider to be a classic but I consider to be rubbish, and the other movies were about as memorable as pseudo-code given to your average programming student, Jurassic World actually managed to surprise me by going down a route that should have been obvious in retrospect: taking the franchise into the realm of the monster movies. It has everything you’d expect from the genre from being mostly centered on stupid humans to the social satire to the awesome monster action and pulls it off with a good amount of camp, which is about as sophisticated as Jurassic Park gets.
But what surprises me even more than my own enjoyment was how much f*cking dough it managed to roll in upon opening week. You’d think with only a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the reception the last few movies got, there’d be less people going to see it than the crowd that willingly paid for that Last Airbender tripe, but wouldn’t you know it? It’s got the highest box-office opening of all-time with money still to be made, given the size of the crowd that was at my showing. And considering this is the same movie season that has Age of Ultron, Furious 7, AND Mad Max: Fury Road, all action movies with higher ratings and all, it just goes to show that you can never predict the public at the end of the day.
Not really a lot to say about the movie besides exaggerating my adoration for representing humanity’s growing greed through a giant mutant dinosaur rampaging around the park and fighting lesser dinos. But I refuse to turn into a raging fanboy on the level of my colleagues who seem to be under the delusion that Symphogear is a good series, so let’s just say that despite agreeing with some of the criticism regarding how the film treats its female characters, I had a lot of fun with it, and it’s a good contender for my top ten of the year. I tell you, that Chris Pratt is going places with his recent career choices.
Seraph of the End
However, with every high comes a low, and that’s my justification for this awkward segue into discussing Seraph of the End. I know there’s another cour coming in the Fall, but one thing I really haven’t been liking about this recent two-cour system is how it feels like the first cour is nothing but setup for a second cour that may not deliver like I’m watching a goddamn VN adaptation. And it never does for that matter. I’m looking at my favorites’ list right now as I’m writing this and aside from shows like Bebop, which have about as much weight as defending OJ Simpsons by bringing up his sports career and those Naked Gun movies, I have not enjoyed a single one of these split-cour shows. I’ll give you guys the first Tokyo Ghoul, but most fans of that would agree it was good more for what it promised than what it actually delivered. Hey, at least it was something. Unlike Seraph’s first cour where the only thing that’s promised is a good heaping of apathy served with a side of sleeping pills.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where vampires have killed/enslaved most of the human population and follows a boy named Yu, a kid who wants so hard to be Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan that it hurts. After getting his friends involved a scheme that practically had a shining disclaimer over it saying “everyone but the main will die or turn evil”, he is recruited into an army unit that fights vampires and we basically sit through a long long LONG stretch of training/setup episodes just so the cour would end on the moment that Yu would discover his best friend was still alive. And considering this is a Studio WIT anime, you know what that means? Pretty decent theatrical visuals and style at the start. Incredibly cheap stills, speedlines, and laggy character animation by the end.
But even if you were to condense the entire thing into a big-budget movie, it’s been a while since I’ve seen an action story with such epicly bad writing that made me want to punch through my monitor and electrocute myself to death. It’s not quite at the level of Nasu’s stuff, but it’s sharing phone conversations with it in its spare time and exchanging Snapchat photos with it all the other times. At first, it was bad to the point of self-parody with its incredibly phoned-in massacre of kids and the absurdity that high school life would exist in this universe and I was kinda laughing at it. Unfortunately, the show loses the energy between theatrical presentation and otaku-bait cliches that made Guilty Crown fun to watch real early on and the rest of the show just became the boring and tensionless kind of bad – like it was made by someone whose only inspiration was a book titled “How to Write Shonen Action for Dummies”. At one point, the main character turns into a demonic out-of-control being and he doesn’t hurt more than scenery in his rampage, and that’s one of the better action scenes in this thing.
It really astounds me that this thing is as popular as it is and that WIT had high hopes for it, but then I remember that it’s a Shonen Jump manga and go “oh right”. I didn’t bother with the other two anime to come from there this season, but even by the standards of that magazine, I’d be surprised if they were worse than this shit. And last I heard, Nisekoi: has had about as much progression as a car in New York trying to get home during rush hour. With four flat f*cking tires!