Mao-chan, Miku, etc.

When the Fnools invaded Earth, they disguised themselves as two-foot-tall real estate salemen, figuring that no one would take them seriously until too late. ((See Philip K. Dick’s “The War with the Fnools.”)) The aliens in Mao-chan adopt a similar strategy: by assuming mercilessly kawaii forms, the invaders make the Japanese defense forces reluctant to engage them in combat, lest the human soldiers be seen as bullies. The Japanese fight cuteness with cuteness: the head of the land forces enlists his eight-year-old granddaughter, Mao, to battle the invaders, arming her with a baton, a full-size model of a tank, and a clover-shaped pin that transforms her into a not-terribly-competent but very cute mahou shoujo. Mao soon is joined by a couple of other eight-year-old girls: Misora, representing the air force, and Sylvie, representing the navy, both recruited by their doting grandfathers. Mao and Misora are ordinary grade-school girls, as kids in anime go, but Sylvie is distinctly Osaka-ish.

The first disc of Mao-chan is pure, silly fluff. The girls deal with the aliens by bopping them with the batons, scolding them, or generating energy blasts from their combined batons. The invading aliens seem too cute to be scary (but we know better). There are some satirical elements (everything the girls do is broadcast on television; Mao’s tank looks intimidating, but in fact is just a big toy; image matters more than military effectiveness; etc.), but they are subordinate to absurdity and cuteness. If the first disc is representative, Mao-chan is a good show for families with small children and for anyone who like silly things. It’s best taken in small doses.

But it’s not for everyone. Zac Bertschy’s review begins:

There must have been a race between anime production houses in Japan to see who could come up with the most asinine show ever. Production I.G, having produced Earth Defense Force Mao-chan, has to have won the competition (although the more recent Bottle Fairy might be worse).

and ends:

Mao-chan will undoubtedly be forgiven by a legion of fans who claim that it’s just ‘innocent, cute fun’ and that critics are being ‘too harsh’ by characterizing it as an insipid exercise in stupidity for fans with horrifically low standards. Mao-chan is lame, offensively unfunny, repetitive, and worst of all, mind-numbingly dull. Geneon’s other saccharine series, A Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar, at least has endearing characters and the occasional decent story. All Mao-chan has is pain. Unless, of course, you’re a toddler.

It was painfully obvious that Bertschy was sick of anime long before he quit his “Answerman” gig. The sheer bile of his Mao-chan review suggests that he was already burnt-out five years ago. It demonstrates once again that reviewers are not to be trusted, particularly those at ANN. There really is no substitute for seeing for yourself.


Quote of the week:

I am more excited than an electron around a hydrogen atom being hit by a 13.6eV photon.


I’d rather listen to Hatsune Miku than:

  • Bob Dylan
  • Peter Cetera
  • Richard Nixon ((Via Frëd.))
  • Bob Marley
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • KISS
  • Ozzy Osborne
  • Joan Osborne
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Any rapper
  • Sonny and Cher
  • Brian Warner
  • Duran Duran
  • George Harrison
  • Billy Idol
  • ‘N Sync
  • Tony Orlando and Dawn
  • Mick Jagger
  • Rick Astley
  • David Lee Roth
  • Jewel
  • Backstreet Boys
  • Motley Crue
  • Eddie Vedder
  • Kid Rock
  • Bill Clinton
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Carole King
  • .. and many, many others

The list is still valid if you replace “Hatsune Miku” with “Touhou music.”


Sailor Naruto. (Advisory: may cause nightmares or nausea.)


While The Kawaii Menace merely ranks 40th among anime blogs overall, according to this site, it ranks second in “Top Anime blogs by the number of pages posted on the blog” and first in “Top Anime blogs by the number of pages indexed by Google.” Golly. This is probably a case of being a small fish in a really tiny pond, and The Kawaii Menace will drop off the charts as more bloggers sign up.

(via #13 (currently).)

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