My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 3

This show should never have been longer than 15 or 16 episodes (sometimes I even think that there should be a law against school romcoms with more than 26 episodes). Its main character, who was the most important asset of this anime when it just came out, also turned out to be its biggest weakness now. In the first season Hikigaya stood out among the army of Ordinary High School Student protagonists because of his sort of misanthropy. But, unfortunately for us, he found friends and his place in society in the same first season. That was way too fast! He wasn’t unique anymore — yeah, one can argue that he was still a creep but it didn’t feel natural, it was kind of “yeah, yeah, let’s pretend that you’re still that loner as you were at the beginning — but we’re still friends and you’re going to save no matter what, right?”

In addition to the changes to Hikigaya’s personality and relationships, I personally can’t stand how overly dramatic such events as, for instance, a cultural festival are shown. It’s not just a school festival, no! Everything is a matter of life and death, every decision can lead to either a triumph or miserable and dishonorable defeat! It’s a prom dammit, not the Second Impact!

Also I have to mention the shameless coffee advertisement throughout the show. It’s not terrible but certainly noticeable. The heroes are going home? They are drinking some-particular-brand of coffee. They are having a long vague and full of innuendos conversation — you simply can’t do it without checking out whether a vending machine nearby has your favorite coffee.

The silver lining is that there’s still Yukinoshita. She’s super cute and a few minutes with her in the last two episodes sort of redeem for whatever we saw before (no one will remember that anyway). We have a second to none confession scene in episode 11 and an omega cute date in the last episode, I am ready to forgive this anime for everything… but here comes an awkward dance with the teacher and their inevitable and embarrassing fall.

Long story short — this anime had good potential but didn’t live up to it. Lucky I am though that my memory is terrible — all the boring stuff will be forgotten quickly and I will remember My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU by the moments like this ^_^

My new addiction — 和楽器バンド =) I heard one or two of their songs before and was kind of “okay, that’s cute but not super interesting”. The other day accidentally gave them another chance and got hooked up. The only disappointment is that their latest songs are much closer to some boring pop, not j-rock with traditional instruments. The first two albums are top notch though.

Aggretsuko 3

Almost everything I wrote about the second season of Aggretsuko can be applied to the third one. It’s forced, uninteresting and should not have been made in the first place. The appeal of the original anime was that it was easy to relate to the main heroine and her ordinary life. It was easy to sympathize with her. In the second season Retsuko started dating a billionaire, in the third — became a member of an underground idol band. Ordinary life and office wars were no more. Forget about all those boring coworkers, we have an exciting ride in front of us! At such pace, in the next season she will become a master of martial arts and for 7 episodes will be fighting in a tournament, because why not? My only hope is that common sense will prevail, netflix will stop beating the dead horse and this season will become the last one.

Servant x Service

If not for Funimation I definitely would’ve missed this anime — to be honest, I had never even heard of it before the last week’s catalog update! So… thank you Funimation, I guess? =) Because the show is actually pretty cute and funny and I’m genuinely glad that it caught my eye. Yeah, it’s another simple comedy based on a 4-koma, so don’t expect to behold a thrilling plot full of pondering on the questions that have been bothering humanity for hundreds of years. And there are going to be sex-related jokes. But, but! This is a story about adults — a few civil servants, new employees at the ward office! Who work! Well, or at least are trying to work =) This show doesn’t even contain a beach episode, an onsen episode or a festival episode, which is an achievement by itself! We will even get not an ideal but satisfying conclusion.

Considering how bland this season is — Servant x Service was a great find and seems that it might be a good idea to go through the anime all the countless streaming services have to offer, maybe there will be more hidden gems =)

TLoU 2

I can see why so many people are upset with The Last of Us 2. A month ago, after I just finished it, I’d probably go on a long rant about everything what’s wrong with the game and why I didn’t enjoy playing it. Now though, I’d just say that the game is stunning visually, it seriously is, and refer to the moist critikal’s review about the rest, I think he nailed it, explaining why the plot and characters could be better.

I’m just going to drop a couple of lines here. I played original TLoU only once and, well, I liked it. I liked it mostly because of the atmosphere (all those abandoned houses and creepy as hell clickers) and the two main characters. I honestly can’t recall any other character from the first game, except maybe for the dude who wiretapped an entire city. The second game has the same atmosphere, so the novelty is gone, and the characters… I didn’t like any single one of them. And it’s not that I disliked them, no. After 4 or 5 hours in I just couldn’t care less what’s happening to Ellie, her friends, lovers and enemies or what their motivation was. They acted weirdly and illogical, they were not believable, they didn’t feel alive — instead they were just amazingly looking and animated 3d models moving on the screen. On the top of everything else, the game is really long and repetitive. I played on the hard difficulty, because that was what I did with the first game, to make my experience more painful (kind of closer to what Joel and Ellie were going through) and it was, heh, hard and rewarding. I did the same in this game and spent 30 hours killing dozens and dozens of similar enemies. This time it wasn’t even difficult, it was just tedious and, frankly, felt like a chore.

However, the graphics in this game is something. So far there was a single talk on siggraph on the TLoU2 tech, so I hope Naughty Dog will publish more info on the magic did to achieve all that =)

For our anniversary this year we decided to visit Vancouver. I’d heard and read quite a few times how amazingly beautiful this city is and how picturesque the mountains surrounding it are. Well, I can’t argue — Vancouver is indeed charming. For me, as for a person who’s lived all his live in relatively plain regions, it’s sort of fascinating to think that you can go to work every morning and casually enjoy a view of a mountain, for example =) And the views of the waterfront, of course:

We cheated and booked a room with the harbor view and it was totally worth it!

As a side note, I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to have all 3 seats for two of us on the planes. I thought that they would be half-empty but turned out I was entirely wrong. The planes (we had a connection in Toronto, so it was two flights in every direction) were packed. The food is not provided during a flight and you have to wear a mask (which feels a bit like, you know, “sir, you have to wear a mask *wink-wink*” because you can remove it while drinking or eating) but other than that everything was pretty normal, which is good I guess.

We had only two full days in Vancouver and the first one was almost exclusively spent in Stanley Park. It’s located on kind of a separate island and just walking along the water, without going deeper into the “island” can take a few hours. Heh, maybe we should’ve rented bikes and ridden around =) Anyway, it’s nice and relaxing. And we saw two raccoon families there!

To be fair, when you go to the downtown, it doesn’t feel to be much different than in Toronto, for example. Vancouver is greener, for sure, a lot of buildings have trees on the top but other than that it looks pretty much like any other American big city. Although, we found a superb Japanese combini! We probably should be ashamed of ourselves because we went there 3 evenings in a row, buying melon pans and daifuku to munch in the hotel, and trying to get something useful (hehe) from the gachapon machines they have inside.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that the Vancouver art gallery is so-so. We usually go to a gallery or museum in every city we’re visiting and maybe it was a bad time, I don’t know, but normally we’d spend a few hours in an art gallery and there we just ran over all 4 floors, didn’t find anything interesting and moved on.

Anyway, it was a good experience and a perfect chance to run away from everything for a bit. Wish we’d had a bit more time, to visit Vancouver Island and maybe even go whale watching — next time I guess =)