Friday, August 24, 2018

The Anime That Will Take You Back To The Times That Kids Jaman Now Mana Ngerti aka The BEST Anime of Summer 2018

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Hi and welcome (again) to this (almost) deserted blog. Let’s just cut to the chase. Saat ini anime musim panas sudah memasuki setengah cour tapi karena kesibukan Comifuro dan IRL stuff saya baru sempat menonton beberapa judul saja, itupun dilakukan di tengah-tengah perjalanan di dalam bus dan kereta. Dari semua judul yang sudah ditonton, I thought that the trophy for the best anime musim panas (versi ikemasen ojousama) will go to either one of these; Hataraku Saibou dengan konsepnya yang mengagumkan yang berhasil menggabungkan elemen edukasi dengan moe anthropomorphism (ANONE ANONE), Revue dengan backingan Furukawa yang sealiran dengan Ikuhara, atau Bakabon yang surprisingly jauh melebihi ekspektasi sampai saya bisa bilang kalau lebih menghibur daripada Osomatsu (sebuah perbandingan yang bias karena saat ini status saya in relationship *menghindar dari lemparan kulit kacang dan botol aqua*) but nooooo, the award for the best anime of summer 2018 don’t go to either one of those. Gelar anime terbaik musim panas tahun ini jatuh kepada serial yang berhasil membuat saya menangis dengan memalukan di kereta jurusan yogyakarta-pasar senen (and I thought this anime is about video game jadoel, dammit!). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the best anime of this summer goes to….. *drum rolls*


HIGH SCORE GIRL

For those who uninformed, High Score Girl (I will now wrote as HSG for the sake of easy writing) mengambil setting di tahun 1991, anime ini bercerita tentang seorang murid kelas 6 bernama Haruo yang tergila-gila dengan game arcade.


RALAT, bukan arcade, TAPI DING DONGAN

Ding dongan is a magical place, tempat ini biasanya terletak di dekat pasar, dan di dalamnya terdapat banyak mesin ding dong yang cuma butuh duit seratus rupiah buat main sampai game over (which is VERY QUICK buat level saya jaman itu, jadi akhirnya kebanyakan cuma nongkrong lihat mas-mas random pro main). 


ZOMG DUIT SERATUS GAMBAR GUNUNGAN

Kembali ke soal plot, Haruo adalah seorang pemain Street Fighter II yang terkenal dengan kepiawaiannya menggunakan Guile (yes, that guy whose BGM becomes a meme TET TERET TEREEET), satu-satunya prestasi yang bisa dia banggakan karena nilai ulangannya jeblok semua. Sayangnya, itu tidak bertahan lama karena kemenangannya berturut-turut di game SF II harus terputus di tangan seorang gadis ojousama bernama Akira yang memakai Zangief. Pertemuan antara dua player pro ea ini akhirnya berlanjut menjadi sebuah kisah drama tahun 90an yang 9999x jauh lebih MANTAP SOUL daripada Dilan.

Awalnya saya memprediksi anime ini hanya jualan nostalgia, trik murahan untuk mendapatkan dukungan dari generasi jaman old, tapi ternyata HSG tidak sedangkal itu. Tidak butuh banyak episode untuk membungkam prediksi saya dan mengubahnya menjadi terkesan. Here’s some of the explanation of why this anime deserves the award in my book:

1. Retro feel of course 
But its more than just for a trivia, detail retro gaming dijelaskan oleh narator sehingga penonton yang hanya sebatas pemain kasual pada jamannya tetap merasa tidak kuper dengan bagian yang dulu belum tahu. Mulai bagian tengah anime ini bahkan diperkenalkan karakter yang sama sekali awam, membuat anime ini tidak hanya bisa ditonton oleh oldfag tetapi juga newfag yang tidak sempat mengalami jaman keemasan ding dongan.

2. Retro/classic drama and characters
Ini poin yang membuat anime ini melesat ke peringkat pertama. Tidak hanya settingnya yang nostalgic, TAPI JUGA DRAMANYA.Haruo adalah typical protag anak SD (dan nantinya SMP) di anime klasik. Bodoh, keranjingan game (and good at it) dan yang paling penting, dense. Bukan tipe dense yang pervert and thirsty dan dikelilingi harem seperti protag jaman now, tapi benar-benar tidak peduli dengan cewek dan tetek bengek percintaan. A very fitting stereotype karena relasinya dengan Akira menjadi dinamis (baca: tidak jelas) antara hubungan romantis atau rival main game, sesuatu yang sangat OLD SKOOL banget. Lalu trope-trope drama klasik seperti boncengan dengan sepeda dan jajan di toko kelontong dan berakhir dengan adegan klimaks perpisahan yang dramatis di bandara. Kalau saja saya tau ini anime dengan kadar drama selevel ini, saya tidak akan menontonnya di kereta siang-siang, the airport scene WAS SO OVERWHELMING my face was like


AND ITS STILL NOT OVER YET! Padahal saya sudah merasa puas dengan akhir episode airport. Sensasi kisah cinta pertama yang semakin dekat hanya untuk menjauh seperti garis asimtot dalam persamaan hiperbola sudah disajikan dengan PERFECT oleh anime ini s̶e̶p̶e̶r̶t̶i̶ ̶e̶n̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶A̶A̶D̶C̶ ̶y̶a̶n̶g̶ ̶g̶a̶k̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶l̶u̶ ̶d̶i̶b̶i̶k̶i̶n̶ ̶s̶e̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶m̶a̶u̶p̶u̶n̶ ̶s̶e̶k̶u̶e̶l̶n̶y̶a̶. Tapi cerita masih berlanjut, bahkan semakin AWESOME karena mengenalkan heroine kedua yang berasal dari background orang awam, anti gamers bahkan. Hidaka, gadis kedua yang dekat dengan Haruo sepeninggalan Akira yang pindah ke luar negeri, membawa dinamika baru dalam kisah ini. Hidaka yang sama sekali asing dengan dunia arcade awalnya skeptis dan menganggap video game cuma hobi yang bikin nilai jelek, tapi Hidaka sudah Terlanjur Sayang seperti lagunya Memes jadi diapun tidak bisa mundur dan memutuskan untuk mencoba menyelami dunia Haruo. Tapi sekali lagi Haruo, yang meskipun sekarang sudah berganti jadi anak SMP, tetaplah little brat yang cuma suka DING DONGAN, dan tidak peka dengan usaha Hidaka yang jatuh bangun seperti lagu Meggy Z. 


Drama semakin dipermantap dengan kembalinya sang ojousama pro ea Akira dari luar negeri. Formula cinta segitiga yang sangat klise tapi justru inilah yang membuat feel klasiknya semakin terasa. Gadis ideal yang bagaikan bintang di langit ataukah gadis sederhana yang seperti bunga di bumi? Madoka or Hikaru? Akari or Kanae? Asseylum or Lemrina? *̶c̶e̶n̶s̶o̶r̶e̶d̶*̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶f̶i̶a̶n̶c̶e̶e̶?̶ the drama element in HSG is not to be taken so lightly, sesuatu yang membuat saya menunggu episode terbarunya dengan penuh antusias, mengalahkan Hataraku Saibo dan Steins;Gate. And eventhough the possibility is low but I hope #teamHidaka win because in real life, that’s what happen mostly in the end.

3. Ending song by Etsuko Yakushimaru
Last reason yang meskipun tidak sebesar dua alasan di atas tadi pengaruhnya tapi tetap ngefek. Suara Etsuko yang dreamy dan judul yang memakai kata Houkago alias sepulang sekolah, seakan membuat lagu penutup anime ini terdengar dari sesuatu nun jauh di sana, bukan hanya dalam konteks ruang, tapi juga waktu. Pengingat yang pas untuk penonton jika kisah ini terjadi di suatu tempat di tahun 1991, dimana jika Haruo masih hidup saat ini umurnya sudah hampir 40 tahun.


My ding dong days was in 1996, more or less, with amazing games such as Darkstalker, Captain Commando, Peter Pan, Gunbird, Sengoku Ace, Art of Fighting, Undercover Cops, Cadillac and Dinosaurs, and the most memorable Power Instinct.

You can also read interesting interview with J.C Staff and Square Enix producer here.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Drama in The Franxx and The Phases of Boys in Love: A Theory

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So, last night I just finished my marathon of Darifura aka dat one drama fueled anime that traumatized mecha fans for getting them bamboozled.

Pictured: almost everyone’s reaction after watching eps14

But let’s forget the grills aside for now because there are two things that got me “hmmmmm” :thonking emoji: while watching the series. The first is the conversation scene with the woman in the city.
Which made me remember this picture
But I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to write about the second interesting thing I find while watching the series. Which is how each stamen’s personality seems similar with various stages of how boys falling in love. Note that this is just a theory so don't take it too seriously.

Zorome

This is the first phase, no matter what type of guy you are. I believe we’ve all been Zorome once upon a time in our youth. This is the time where you see girls as irrelevant and annoying. You don’t understand why people are falling in love (and did stupid things because of it) and you complain why the shounen manga you read has romantic element. You probably got confessed by a girl but you rejected her, not because you have no interest on her but because you have no interest in dating in general. Perhaps this phase is the most peaceful and stress-free because ignorance is a bliss.
Have I been in this phase? Yes of course. I rejected two confessions because I thought dating is a waste of time.
MISTAKE WERE MADE


Futoshi

Ah Futoshi, you poor summer child. You take a yes for a yes and a no for a no. You thought the girl you love is an angel purer than Gabriel and fairer than holy maiden, a princess in dire need of protection from a white knight in shining armor riding pegasus unicorn wielding excalibur (or masamune if you’re a weebs), and that knight is, of course, have to be you, isn't it? This is (mostly but not exclusive to) the phase of first love. This is where you, suddenly out of the blue, realize holy shit what have I been doing all this time, how could I missed the fact that girls are a creature of beauty? They’re so cute and sweet and soft and fluffy and kind and funny and auugh WHAT IS THIS STRANGE FEELING? This is the phase where you started listening to Padi and Sheila on 7 24/7 (especially Begitu Indah and Anugerah Terindah yang Pernah Kumiliki).

But did it work the way you hope? Well, maybe, if you’re lucky. But most of the time IT FAILED.HORRIBLY.
And this is where you begin to listen to Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance (and also The Cure - Boys Don’t Cry for about one million times). Because apparently messaging her night and day (and morning, and noon, and afternoon) won’t make her fall into you if she doesn’t see you as possible love interest. And all those kindness she did to you? Its nothing more than a kindness she did to everyone else. But she’s so sweet (or maybe afraid) she doesn’t want to hurt you so she will not directly tell you to go away (which ironically hurts you even more in the end because why didn't you just say so) and you didn’t read that clues so you keep on assuming and fight your uphill battle.

She might tolerate you at some point but keep on pushing her to her limit aaand she will think you..
And then out of nowhere suddenly she found the love of her live and they begin to date, leaving you screaming GIRLS ONLY WANT BAD BOYS, VICTIM OF FRIENDZONE, NETORARE, SHE A THOT AND ALL THAT SHIT. As I wrote before, this phase is not exclusive to first love because sometimes, when the (bad luck) stars aligned, you will meet a girl so charming it makes you forget all the logic and reasoning and history begins to repeat itself. A sad and miserable phase but at least it will teach you
Obligatory BGM
Ahhaaaaa aaaa aaahaaahhaa aaaa
Have I been in this phase? Yes OF-FUCKING-COURSE.

Hiro (early episodes)

The third phase (but perhaps not everyone’s third phase). This is where you, perhaps not fully healed from the last wound, but at least have strength to walk again. But you’re already so tired, too tired from the fruitless battle. Perhaps, you thought, it would be easier if you let yourself be conquered than conquering. Perhaps it is more comforting that way. So you dream of one radical beauty to break through and saves you from all this hopelessness. And maybe she will come to you and you feel alive again. The world is bright. And no longer unfair. PRAISE GOD.
But this is a frail relationship. You are risking losing every part of yourself; perspective, dreams, idealism, et cetera. You are no longer able to think clearly because you don’t want her changes her mind, or hate you, or worse, leaving you alone again. Continue letting this happen and, franxxly speaking, your relation will go Stampede. The line between what is right and what is wrong is blur. Don’t let your Zero Two turns Strelizia into Eva-01. Pull that chord on her butt and stop her (this is why I write Hiro on early episode, because in recent eps Hiro got better in keeping the balance). Its not about who should be in control, it is about realizing what is the proper and the right way for both of you. The sad thing about this phase is, not every time its going to work, sometimes you just have to let that crazy chick go than destroying yourself (real life ain’t anime bruh). Fast forward, years gone by and time will tell whether you have made a correct decision or not. Maybe it is a correct decision. Maybe she is one hell of a girl and too overwhelm to handle and you kind of feeling bad for her man who have to copes with her problems but maybe he’s happy with that who knows, one thing for sure you will thank yourself for avoiding the bad happy ending route.
Have I been in this phase? Oh you bet I have.

Goro

Depending on your fate, this could be your third or fourth phase. You now are quite level headed and down to earth. You are no longer see girls as MAGICAL ANGELICAL BIBLICAL MAJESTIC being descends from the seventh heaven but as another human being with its beauty and ugly side. You also have enough experience to navigate around this game of romance to know the do and don’t, which limit you can break and which one you need to stay away, though of course you still make mistakes from time to time.
And all the painful things you’ve been through gave you immunity that when you encounter another rejection, the pain you feel is no longer on apocalypse level. The pain is there but it doesn’t hurt much. The world is not going to end, the sky is still blue, and you can still eat, shit and falling in love again. All is good. UNLESS.. unless you went Mitsuru.
Have I been in this phase? Yes I do.

Mitsuru

Human has limit. Pushing that limit can result in two things, either you evolve, or you get broken. Becoming Goro also has its limit. Sure having a new girl coming into your life then bid her goodbye without becoming Futoshi is no longer a difficult thing to do, in fact when it happen all the time it started to feel natural. But eventually it takes toll on you. You can no longer distinguish whether you’re okay or in pain because every nerves has become numb.
And when the limit break, Mitsuru is who you’re going to be. Jaded. Apathetic. Indifferent. You accept everything while at the same time you also deny everything. You are happy because nothing can make you sad and at the same time you are sad because nothing can make you happy. You have zero fuck to give to anyone. You are a walking self-sufficient perpetual machine and that is all that matter. You begin to question whether the ideal life is when everyone doesn’t disturb anyone.
And that thought will haunt you in your free time, when you have no works to do because working is the only thing that could distract you from those thought. But those thought will always find a way to seep into your mind, every night at 3 AM during your sleepless night so you listen to 24/7 LO-FI HIPHOP CHILLWAVE AESTHETIC VAPORWAVE RETRO SYNTH CHANNEL.
Have I been in this phase? Bruuh I’m IN this phase :v

Hiro (childhood/flashback episode)

This can be a first OR final phase (if you didn’t end up as Mitsuru). The most ideal person you could ever be. Someone who genuinely help any girl without intention (I specifically use the word girl, not any person, because the context here is romance). This might seems easy if the parameter you use is looks. Can you help ugly girl with intention as genuine as helping pretty girl? of course you can. But that's not the parameter here. Can you help the girl you like with intention as genuine as helping another girl you don't have romantic interest at all? Now that, is Top 10 Questions Science Can't Answer Today.

There might be a similar theme with the pistils but who am I to speak I’m not a girl. Still, I also have theory on this so I’ll just write it but keep it short.

Miku


Just like Zorome, Miku is probably the starter phase for any girls. Girls think boys are annoying. Boys think girls are annoying. Both don’t disturb each other. Ah, those simple days. Wait a second, why does this seems familiar with the old woman saying?

Kokoro

I want to hate this girl. Kokoro is the worst kind of girl. But I just can’t. I think this is the phase where a girl still trying to understand how boy’s line of thought works and is afraid making things turns for the worse. A girl once told me that the courage it takes to reject is the same amount as the courage it take to confess. So she intentionally let it went to status quo. But she also knows it doesn’t feel right. Oh well, I guess we all made this kind of mistake in life.

Ikuno

Not much I can analyze from this girl, perhaps its a phase when (some) girls has bisexual or lesbian tendency? I read that girls have a bigger tendency to be yuri than boys becoming yaoi during their youth but eh what do I know I'm not a major in psychology.

Zero Two

Ah yes, everyone’s favorite waifus (but not me). Zero Two is the result of alienation. Perhaps its the phase where you feel you’re like a special girl (I’m not like the other girl you knoow?) or worse, literally being alienated (bullied). The sad thing is, in real life nobody care if you get bullied unless you’re pretty. I know a girl that hates this trope so much since she used to get bullied during her school but no Hiro came to care for her. And now that she becomes pretty with her own effort suddenly flocks of thirsty guys hit her, and she was like where the fuck are you guys during my suffering times?
So yeah

Ichigo

This girl is… basically impossible to understand except you’ve been in her shoe. And perhaps not many people have been there. Though to be fair not many girl also went through Zero Two phase, which is why this anime becomes interesting, since both has strong personality. Most girl won’t have a guts like Ichigo to bite back. As Goro said, its impossible to forecast a girl in this phase. We’re halfway through the series and she seems won’t back down soon. I think Ichigo deserves happy ending (did I just adding fuel to the fire? heheh) though knowing the series tendency, her happy end probably won’t involve Hiro. Go go, Ichigo!
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