Archive for July, 2010

From the Pile: Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan

July 7th, 2010
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From the Pile is a regular feature in which we profile something at random from our large pile of yet-to-be-reviewed anime and manga. Believe us, we’ve been in this game for several years now and have had only limited space in the print edition to share all our thoughts, so there’s quite a bit of catch-up work to do on our backlog. So without further ado …

Today’s profile: Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan vol. 1, disc 1 of 2
Publisher: Media Blasters (under Anime Works imprint)
Suggested age rating: Older teen 16+

The premise certainly seemed interesting at the time: Overzealous guardian angel descends to Earth to watch over a teen boy, yet gets so upset with him at times that she kills him … then sets about reviving him, only to repeat the process some time down the line. So when I learned that Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan was available on Netflix, I immediately placed it in my queue, and when I got the disc, I was eager to watch it.

Unfortunately, it arrived just as I was preparing for my Bay Area vacation (a vacation that I’ll write about … someday … I hope), and my free time then was taken up working on the To Terra Drawn & Quartered column (which, by the way, will go down in history as the Final Drawn & Quartered Column Ever *sniffle*). And then The Merger happened, chaos ensued, another Manga Movable Feast-related entry warranted my attention, and several weeks passed.

So I apologize to anyone locally who may have been interested in renting Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan. I’ll be placing it in the mail as soon as I finish writing this review. Which means you’ll have several days to change your mind, revise your Netflix queue and rent something better. Because really, while I have only the first disc of the two-disc set, it’s bad enough that I have no desire to get the second one.

Remember the premise I mentioned at the beginning of this review? It’s amusing the first time Sakura wanders in on a topless Dokuro and promptly gets half his head sheared off. (The resultant geyser would probably keep blood banks in Sakura’s neighborhood stocked with his blood type for years.) It’s also amusing the first time Dokuro does her standard-for-magical-girl-series sparkly twirl, chants “Pipiru piru piru pipiru pii!” and brings him back to life. The fifth time Dokuro kills Sakura within 25 minutes? Not so much.

Once that signature gag gets old, there’s not much else to support what’s really a standard-issue school romantic “comedy.” I use the word “comedy” in quotes here because what MediaWorks passes off as humor — gross-out gags like Dokuro and a rival angel, Sabato, shriveling up and coming down with a bad case of diarrhea whenever their halos are removed; odd gags like the class representative being transformed into a half-human, half-animated-photo-of-a-monkey’s-head; and moments of gratuitious fanservice — come across as off-putting and rather creepy. Heck, the driving plot of the show — Dokuro and Sabato are sent to stop Sakura from stumbling on technology in the future that preserves all women as little girls, owing to his lolita complex — made me feel dirty for even thinking of rooting for Sakura.

Take away those elements, and you end up with a typical school romance series. How you can tell:

  • Dokuro shows up with a halo over her head. No one cares. The boys, however, being the bundles of raging adolescent hormones that they are, melt at the sight of her.
  • Sakura has a crush on Shizuki. Shizuki reciprocates. But oh, darn it all, Dokuro keeps getting in the way. (This interference comes in handy for the obligatory “couple that you’re rooting for to hook up finally goes on their first date” episode.)
  • There is an episode where the main characters must help a shy friend get together with the popular boy in school, as well as one where the class goes on an outing (and one where everyone wears bathing suits, at that).

By the time the series veers into the obligatory Very Serious, Very Special Episode Where All Mysteries Are Revealed, I was struggling to find any motivation to keep watching. Somehow I managed to make it the end, but I’m happy to move on to other things. Apparently there’s an audience out there — Anime News Network’s Theron Martin gave it an average B grade;  Mania.com’s Chris Beveridge gave it a B+. I’m just not convinced that audience is me.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to give something else with the promise of dark humor a spin. It’s a game called Naughty Bear, for the Xbox 360. Advance previews have been rather promising, and I’m looking forward to ripping the stuffing out of plush bear to compensate for this disapp…

… what? That’s turning out to be a disappointment, too?

Phooey.

Making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

July 1st, 2010
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A quick update now on ChipChipChurrah, the Mililani High School video game club vying for a Pepsi Refresh grant that I wrote about in April: Unfortunately, the club didn’t win the grant in April. Nor did it win in May.

But I’m pleased to report that the club, led by teacher Sean Hamamura, persisted and finally broke through, getting the most votes in its category last month and earning its long-desired $5,000 grant.

After learning of the club’s win via a comment Sean left on the April entry, I e-mailed him to congratulate him and find out what’s next. Those next steps, he told me, involve filling out the actual grant application (“I heard it was 17 pages,” he said) and getting approval from the school principal for the field trip. “I am hoping to plan for a weekend in the fall sometime,” Sean wrote.

Congratulations, ChipChipChurrah! Keep watching this blog for updates on what hopefully will be this club’s excellent adventure.