My minimum standard for singing is Hatsune Miku. If a vocalist can’t sing at least as well as software, he has no business near a microphone. Similarly, I can define a minimum standard for art: if an artist can’t paint or sculpt at least as well as Hozuki no Reitetsu‘s Nasube, he needs to master his craft before exhibiting his efforts. If his works are easily mistaken for trash by the cleaning staff, they’re not art. ((John C. Wright: “Go into a modern art museum and look at the trash on the walls. Bomb the museum. Go back through the wreckage and see if you or anyone can see any change.”))
The satirical comedy Hozuki no Reitetsu is 20% cooler than any other anime this winter and remains the only current series I can recommend. The most recent episode is 20% sweeter and stickier as well. The first half features the return of the feline yellow journalist, who once again does not fare well against Hozuki. There’s also a J-pop video even more disturbing than “PonPonPon.” In the second half, we learn that childish airhead Nasube has considerable artistic talent.
I’m still watching Witch Craft Works and World Conquest Zvezda Plot, but I don’t expect much from either at this point. The latter occasionally evokes Excel Saga, but it never quite rises to the level of the quack experimental anime. And that’s it for this winter season.
None of the previews for spring look interesting. There’s a good chance that it will be the first time in almost ten years that I don’t follow any show. Instead, I’ll probably rewatch old favorites when I’m in the mood for moving pictures.
Come summer, I probably will check out the new and improved Sailor Moon. It’s possible that it will be worth watching, at least for the visuals; the art directors previously worked on such shows as Mononoke, Gatchaman Crowds and Kyousougiga.
I watched the entire first season of Sailor Moon years ago (following each episode with one of Cardcaptor Sakura to counteract any deleterious effects on my intelligence) and read a little of the manga, but for me the most enjoyable aspect of the Sailor Senshi universe was SeraMyu, the musicals that ran from 1993 to 2005. They were as ridiculous as you’d expect, but they were also fun, and the best songs are surprisingly good. I just discovered that there was a fresh SeraMyu show staged back in September. I haven’t had a chance to watch the whole thing yet, but what I’ve seen so far seems to be of a piece with the earlier musicals. None of the new songs have impressed me so far, though, and while the new Usagi isn’t bad, I still prefer Anza Ooyama. You can watch La Reconquista here.
Some examples of classic SeraMyu: “Sailor War Supreme,” with Anza; “Best Song Medley,” with Marina (the second-best stage Usagi); “Ongakushu,” the best songs (and a few klunkers) from the earliest musicals, with Anza. A number of the complete musicals have been subtitled and are on YouTube.
And now, more pictures from episode eight of Hozuki no Reitetsu.
(Compare with Mick Fleetwood.)