This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Umamusume’

High school girls — animal-eared girls, no less — with an earnest transfer student who wants to Be the Best. And they race in stupidly kawaii outfits that probably create a lot of wind drag. And at the end of the races they have an idol-style concert. This feels like the Triple Crown for moe trash.

All that actually doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that horses’ ears do not work like that. I don’t know why the hell the animators insisted on having the girls’ horse ears squinch at the middle. Horse ears swivel at the base and tend to point more out than down.

horse ears

Sadly, this sample is missing the most popular moe expression, “kawaii dismay.”

But this series DOES actually have something resembling a character arc for our main girl Special Week and a few other characters. Especially since this seems to be based on a mobile game. They doubt themselves and get disappointed and we’re shown and not just told how much hard work they do rather than stupid random power-ups.

Still good for happy nice time watching, but still…

umamusume ears

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This Week in Moe Shit: ‘School Babysitters’

The moe in this one is less about high school girls and more about toddlers. And our main character is actually a dude, which makes this a rather unusual piece of moe shit, but there’s not much plot beyond slice-of-life and there’s little to nothing by way of character arcs, so I feel very comfortable in calling this moe shit.

So our main duo, high schooler Ryuichi and preschooler Kotaro, are conveniently orphaned by the plot and are taken in by the chairwoman of a private academy who makes Ryuichi earn his keep by watching a bunch of the teacher’s kids as part of the “Babysitting Club.”

Now, I’m a soulless monster who doesn’t like kids. Theoretically I like babies — like, other people’s babies who go away before too long — but toddlers are right out. Probably even laid-back toddlers like Kotaro is supposed to be. So it’s a backhanded sort of endorsement that I did not find these fictional toddlers either too annoyingly saccharine or annoyingly implausible.

Some of the side characters are one-trick ponies who aren’t really worth the plot making an effort to include them once their schtick is up. Or their schtick isn’t that funny.

There’s a guy in Ryuichi’s grade who’s fallen in love with one of the teachers and claims her kid as his “future daughter.” Except that teacher’s not a single mother, it’s just that her husband is an archaeologist who mostly works overseas. The joke should stop there, but the show insists on keeping it running, so it comes off as creepy and no-longer-funny. It was kinda charming in an awkward way when you thought this guy was just too earnest rather than delusional, but after a certain point I was half-expecting him to kidnap the baby or some shit, and that is not what I want for my happy-nice-time watching.

Luckily there is some decent humor in this to distract from off-key notes like this, and side characters who aren’t gross.

Like another classmate, a girl with a crush on Ryuichi, who wants to be good with kids but sucks at it. I kinda relate to her, but I’ve had more time to come to grips with the fact that I am crap with kids and nothing’s really gonna change that.

After being low-key terrorized by the kids being the gross little horrors that they are, Ryuichi makes her feel better by telling her that he doesn’t like gross things either, but that he puts up with it because the kids aren’t just a faceless mass of snot and bugs to him, they’re Taka and Kirin and Takuma and Kazuma.

Which is very happy nice time-making, but my mileage has varied considerably on that theory in regards to kids. Pets, yeah, I can apply that to, so the sentiment isn’t entirely lost on me.

This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san’

Crunchyroll has this title translated as “Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen,” which I think is a clunky-ass translation. I think a better one would be “Ramen-Loving Koizumi.”

In any case, this is about a high-school girl, Koizumi, who eats ramen pretty much everyday but can’t do it in peace because of this creeper-ass blue-haired girl who stalks her to all the different ramen joints she visits.

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This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Laid-back Camp’

Lord knows why, but I find myself watching anime that is most adequately described as moe shit, which is cute high school girls doing cute slice-of-life shit and has very little real plot and very little by means of character arcs. I like to think I have better taste than this, but this is apparently what my brain wants for my junky, decompression, happy-nice-time viewing.

Laid-Back Camp (or Yuru Camp) is about a bunch of high school girls who go camping.

That’s pretty much it.

The characters can be generally defined as the genki girl, the silent loner who thaws, the girl with the dog, and those other girls.

I like to think of myself as someone who appreciates nature, but there are too many things about camping that are complete and utter bullshit, a short list being:

  1. Bugs
  2. No running water
  3. Walking more than 20 yards to a bathroom
  4. Most kinds of weather
  5. Sleeping, however indirectly (not indirectly enough), on the hard-ass ground

So this lets me indulge in a comfortably vicarious experience of a hobby I am only very theoretically interested in. There’s lots of pretty artwork about the scenery and vistas that I’m sure are based on real-life views from around Mount Fuji.

Scientific Railgun > Magical Index

I didn’t actually get very much into either of these, but I made it through one season of Railgun while only just a couple episodes of Index. Why?

Characters

Whatshisface from Magical Index is just some bland motherfucker. Yeah he’s supposed to be the Everyday Guy, but what the hell is his actual personality? He’s nice sometimes, in a vague way? A little stubborn? What’s his motivation? He’s nice sometimes, in a vague way? A little stubborn? He spends way too much damn time whining, then. And there’s something just off-putting about a harem building around this Nice-ish Guy.

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Happy nice time review: Natsume Yuujin-cho

Disclaimer: I own all 20 currently translated manga volumes of Natsume’s Book of Friends. I have Nyanko-sensei merch. I’m just a teensy bit biased.

This is actually pretty unusual for a shoujo manga/anime, mostly because while there’s a lot of romance, it happens around rather than to our main character, Natsume, who is a dude (which is in itself rather unusual for shoujo).

The background for the story is that the titular Natsume is an orphan who has been bounced around from distant relative to distant relative because of his erratic behavior caused by yokai that no one else can see. He inherited the titular Book of Friends from his grandmother Reiko, who took the names of yokai she defeated as a contract to control them.

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Almost good: Engaged to the Unidentified

Or Mikakunin de Shinkoukei if we’re purists (and I tend to be). It’s a romantic comedy anime which is heavier on the comedy than the love part, which saves it from the crapper, I think.

It revolves around an arranged engagement, so we have believable mixed emotions and turmoil, but we don’t get bogged down in it because of ridiculous obsessions.

This is a show about weird contrasts, which are inherently funny to our brains, so I think it has a solid humor base. The yokai-girl is obsessed with UFOs and Unidentified Mysterious Animals from the Japanese version of the Syfy Channel. The super-popular student council president has a (non-sexual) “little sister fetish.”

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