Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heaven is a School

It's November 14, and it's another wonderful July day. Well, I guess it has been getting a little colder lately. I may even be able to wear my jacket later to-night.

I guess there's a genre or subgenre of anime/manga now--I don't know what it's called, or if it has a name--but it might be called High School Club. I think it began with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, now it seems like a default way for shows to get students in a typically idealised high school setting together. I think it reflects an increasing sensibility of internalising and reluctance to socialise--in an older series like Ranma 1/2, the characters were a community of the whole school and parts of the city. Now the characters are contained in these clubs with the school as the exterior world. Though keeping the exterior limited to the safe and idealised school may be designed to create a slightly more plausible safe fantasy world for the story.

Anyway, I watched the first episode of the new series Hyouka (氷菓) this morning. In this case, we follow a male protagonist obsessed with "conserving energy", endeavouring to find paths in life that require as little effort from him as possible. He comes off as a cross between a slacker and some sort of secret military tactician, not so much played for laughs--a good avatar I guess for the NEET and/or otaku viewer. The first episode sees him join a club devoted to classic literature, where he meets, of course, a beautiful and guileless girl.

It's not bad as these things go. The animation is great, even for unattractive characters like the janitor. The story seems to focus on investigations of mysteries--again, like Haruhi Suzumiya--and the typical anime framework of each scene being about the character explaining how he knew and/or orchestrated all along what had happened in the previous scene is conducted in the form of layering of these mysteries. In this case, a Ring-ish ghost story which the protagonist deflects by concocting a mystery about a secret club leaving notices on the bulletin boards at the entrance to the school--because the ghost mystery would have them explore the music building and the mystery he concocts would have them go to the entrance of the school where he was planning to go anyway on his way out. Conserving energy.

So there's a nice connexion between plot and character development. It has potential, I'll watch a couple more episodes at least.

Twitter Sonnet #446

Refrigerator refrains release ice.
Nibbles balance the noxiously bright teeth.
Spoiled Jell-O ingests Miami Vice.
Calamine lotion shimmies in its sheath.
Apple paralysis fells the like orange.
Two trips rob pedestrians of stigma.
Rapunzels zero out across the gorge.
No herb overpowers soup with magma.
Frosted awards take toothpicks to the flake.
Horseflies launching at the stones know the bench.
Antennae teeth throw the radio cake.
The puzzle piece hammers reject the wrench.
One leaf is less obtrusive than a score.
Seasons of death are a colossal bore.

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