I sent this to Seihai's wall, and I thought you might be interested in reading it as well:
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata - Good start. Excellent direction. Very Monogatari series-esque to me. Will watch the 2nd episode later tonight or sometime tomorrow. I like the main females. One strikes me as a more likeable Hitagi, and another as a cross between Kanbaru and PMMM's Sayaka.
Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls - This is such a total 180 from the original Idolmaster, cast-size wise. I love that. I love how it focuses a lot on a couple of female characters, rather than a huge cast of 12 or so. The male producer also helps provide great comedy - He makes me think of Lurch from The Addams Family. On the whole, the first episode reminded me some of what I love about Love Live!, and that's a big positive.
Yuri Kuma Arashi - I'm a yuri fan, so I do like much of the yuri in this. But the first episode was a bit too bizarre for my liking. I don't mind metapors, but when the entire show feels like one big metaphor to me, that can be a bit of a put off to me. I'll probably give it at least another episode or two, though. If you like yuri *and* mind-trippy shows, this show is for you.
As for your last VM to me, I get what you're saying. One particular thing that stood out to me was the the first three or four scenes of the first episode, and the commentary they made about "how best to introduce the audience to a new show and its major characters". I liked how it seemed to take a clear stand there. I don't want an anime show to just beat itself up and/or the anime world in general, so I'm with you there. But I do like it when an anime show can be just a little bit self-critical on a minor point like this one, or even just take a clear stand on something that we anime fans debate about a lot.
Shirobako is a show that's doing an excellent job of hitting the right balance here, in my view. It presents the anime world in a largely positive light, but it will make the odd satirical critique here and there.
Oh, and yeah, the actor girl in Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata makes me think a bit of Nadeko, but also Hanekawa.
I think part of the reason it works for me is the criticism is gentle/humourous enough that the author is kind of admitting that he actually kind of likes these kinds of shows too. It's the writers who try and act like their work is superior just because it's self aware I can't stand.
Plus, I feel like the episode gently criticizes its audience as well - I can't help but read the way the show pokes fun at the protagonist for ignoring the girls and scenery for the most part as a way of saying "it's okay to take a break from being an otaku sometimes".
I remember Bakemonogatari more for its drama than its metahumour. Nisemonogatari is the opposite, I can see comparing Saenai Heroine with Nise even if it doesn't necessarily have all the visual gags Nise did.
As for the character comparisons:
-Utaha: Were it not for how utterly scathing her remarks can be, I would have said she's Kuroneko crossed with Hyouka's Irisu, but I guess the remarks do make me think Hitagi a bit. She's not as dramatic a character was in the early parts of Bakemonogatari though. The scenes where Hitagi tries to intimidate Araragi into silence in Bakemonogatari episode 1 are iconic for me.
-Michuru: Technically Kanbaru has a dark side under the genki, sporty girl exterior but I do see this comparison.
-Megumi: I'm guessing you're comparing her to Nadeko? She's need to be younger and more vulnerable for me to really see it.
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata's humor is definitely very meta. I myself was divided on it.
On the one hand, I found it slightly disconcerting just how thick the meta was being laid on in Episode 00. On the other hand, some of it was genuinely inspired and pointed. My experience is that anime too often uses this sort of humor to sound provocative and self-critical when really its pure self-congratulating, whereas in this case I could sense a sincere edge to the humor, causing it to rise to the level of actual satire. I definitely liked that.
On the whole, I felt that Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata was extremely Bakemonogatari-esque. I have the impression that you're a big Bake fan, so I'm a bit surprised that you never mentioned and/or saw such a similarity. Granted, Saenai's male lead seems much more like Love Hina!'s than he does Koyomi, but the female cast... 3 of the main 4 remind me vividly of one or more of the Bake female cast. The artist is the only exception.
By first episode, you mean episode 00 right? I've seen both episode 00 and episode 1. And I actually flipped through 00 again before writing this post.
Here's the things I noticed about episode 1:
1) Frequent lampshading of the show's own tropes
2) The main character essentially ignoring three talented beauties and focusing his attention on his game and a more mundane girl (the "boring girlfriend" in the title.
3) Small hints that the "mundane" girl has changed in the six months since meeting the MC.
I strongly suspect that one or both of 2 and 3 are important to the show's overall theme. I also think that the title ("How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend") is very intended to be tongue in cheek. I'm also somewhat optimistic the show is going to actually say something interesting using these themes by the end, especially as the writer previously penned White Album 2.
But the one thing that gives me some pause is how "meta" the jokes are. I didn't mind it a lot in episode 00, because having a bunch of gorgeous girls discuss anime at a hot spring strikes me as so over the top that I can't take it seriously. On the other hand, episode 01 is more serious in tone, and therefore the "the top two beauties in my school are secretly a talented write and a talented illustrator" thing bugged me a lot more there.
On the whole I'd say I'm going a bit wait and see on the show.
I am very, *very* curious to get your take on Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata.
If you've watched it already, or chose to watch it later, I'm sure you'll know why.
I just watched its first episode, and I have my own thoughts on it, but it's the sort of anime that you tend to be really good at picking apart and explaining, so I'm admittedly quite eager to hear your take on it.
Thanks for the PM reply. I now recall you bringing up similar points to me before on previous legal questions, so I apologize for sending that latest PM to you. I'll probably search out experienced lawyers for questions of this nature in the future.
I've also considered actually trying my hand at original fiction that could later be adapted into a VN. That, I would imagine, would be legal. So maybe that's the best route to go if I can manage to have some success with it.
As for your last VM to me, yeah, it's true you like some atmosphere and drama mixed in with light and fluffy bits. There's definitely more "pure fluff" shows out there - Girlfriend (Beta) comes to mind for me - than your favorites. "Feels authentic" and "faces issues/problems that are practical and real life-esque" are probably other terms I'd add to the sorts of anime shows and anime characters you like.
"Believably overcomes real life issues with a quirky charm and a slightly eccentric smile" might be a good way to describe some of the anime characters you like. Maybe with "Also with a calm head behind the playful appearance" added on. That would fit Holo and Matsuri well, and Nozomi as well.
It's not far off my own fondness of genki girls, ideally ones driven by a serious purpose (Sayaka, Honoka, etc...).
Thanks for posting that as a VM. I'll have more to say in reply to that VM later today. But an idea recently came to me. For various reasons, I want to keep discussions on this idea private, so I want *that* conversation to be strictly over PMs. It has to do with Madoka Magica: Pure Pink Pretty Lovers, a fanfic I wrote a long time ago that you read some of, IIRC.
Posting here because I know you worry a bit about freeing up inbox space:
-I really like gorgeous, slightly moody romance dramas with likeable pairings and some good wham moments. Nagi no Asukara did a pretty good job with all that - for me it isn't a classic like EF, but it's pretty darn good.. The fall VN adapdation trio of Ushinawareta, Grisaia and Daitoshokan? All decent shows IMO, but none reached the same highs.
-Your observations on my taste are astute and mostly accurate. Just remember that I do like some atmosphere and drama mixed in with my light and fluffy bits - with all due respect to Yuki Yuna and NagiAsu, IMO this was a better year for light, fluffy and charming series than for dramatic ones, so my choices are a little bit skewed in that direction.
Like a number of people, it initially bothered me that they were given their "offerings" back simply because they decided to put up a last stand.
But the more I think about it, the more I'm satisfied with even the explanation that such a major victory was the appropriate time for them to get their offerings back. And I also do really like the theory that what got them released is Yuuki herself gaining a level in divinity. Seriously, the issue just doesn't bug me as it did (a bit) while I was watching.
It'll be interesting to see if there's a sequel and if so, if it gives an explanation or further hints as to what happened. I just hope that if they do so, it's a satisfying explanation.
I still don't consider it a strong ending, but in a way it actually feels fitting as I've generally thought of the Yuuki Yuuna's subtle, low key nature (relative to what's going on) as the key thing that differentiates it from Madoka.
BTW, Unlimited Blade Works did have a very strong season finale and at this point the plot has deviated quite a bit from the 2006 version. Or at least, I think it has - it's starting to become clear to me that I don't remember all that much of the 2006 version.
Just thought you might want to know.
(I did actually flip through a bit of the 2006 version just to see if it would jog my memory... and man, it has not aged well animation wise.)