The lateness streak continues! At least this time there IS a few valid reasons, namely me getting sick THEN having a weird sleep schedule for a few days because of it THEN having to work on videos that needed recording/editing THEN having to plan around my sister so I'd have a way to watch the RT Extra Life stream THEN my friend deciding to invite me over on the same weekend/week of such... So yeah, better late than never!
The Anime Of The Month for November, 2017 is...
Advance warning, I won't be able to talk MUCH about this series because the amount of things that can be spoiled is INSANELY huge. Like seriously, it's kinda crazy.
Series Name: Punch Line
Creator Name: Kotaro Uchikoshi
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Action
Air Dates: April, 2015 through June, 2015
Number Of Episodes: 12 (With a sequel manga that NO ONE has translated)
Sorry about the opening and ending not existing in the initial posting of this; Turns out both songs are produced under the Sony label and GOD FUCKING FORBID you try to do anything with a Sony property and not pay them first >:/ As such I'm trying to find a way to upload them myself that WON'T get them axed by YouTube's bots.
EDIT: Done. The opening is fun and all, but the ENDING is easily one of my favorites in recent memory... And it looks absolutely adorable with that animation style!
How I Found This Series: As with many other series, I was introduced to Punch Line via my IRL friend Josh/ChaoSamui/Chaos621. Whenever the series first started airing he caught wind of it from a Reddit thread and, knowing how much I love a good pair of panties on a cute girl, promptly told me I should give it a watch.... It took me two years to do such, but I got there eventually.
Summary: Yuuta Iridatsu is a totally normal high school student... Until a busjacking incident leads to his death, his body being possessed by another spirit as HIS spirit is now forced to float about the material world! The terrorist group responsible for the busjacking has very unclear motives, but it seems like they have something to do with Yuuta losing his body as well! He's forced to 'haunt' his apartment complex, the rather small Korai House, and wait until he has a chance to reclaim his body... Strangely though, Yuuta finds out that same day that he has superhuman abilities... Which only activate when he gets turned on, typically by seeing a girl's panties! The catch? If he gets TOO turned on (IE if he sees panties twice in a row) an asteroid inexplicably slams into Earth and destroys all traces of life! Good thing for him ghosts can go back in time, so he gets an infinite number of tries to avoid ending the world AND solving this mystery!
No, I'm not kidding. Trust me though, and I really mean this; It IS NOT the kind of series you're probably thinking it is.
Characters: More than a handful, and with three specific characters it gets VERY confusing unless you take it slowly... But for now we'll focus on the main five characters who live in Korai House.
The main character, who was already described briefly in the summary. Yuuta is a passionate and determined individual, always wanting to help others before himself and ESPECIALLY if he thinks he can make a difference. Friendly and kind as well, the other residents of Korai House all seem to have a genuine appreciation of him both as a friend and neighbor... Even if he is a bit on the perverse side. He somehow has the ability to gain superhuman powers when aroused, his hair going from a navy blue to a literally glowing deep orange, resulting in drastically increased speed, strength and resilience. After becoming a ghost, Yuuta must work to raise his spirit level so that he can further play a part in solving the mystery of the QMay terrorist group.
FUN FACT: This character's name is a play on the Japanese phrase YUTAI RIDATSU, which translates to "astral projection."
Narugino is a bit hard to describe, if nothing else because of all the things that COULD be used to describe her! She's a very sweet and kind girl who wants nothing more than peace and happiness for all, a member of the pop-idol group She's May who has regular concerts and album releases, and finally she's a magical girl super-heroine named Strange Juice! This pink-haired, innocent peace-loving girl seems to have the same superhuman abilities as Yuuta, her own hair glowing a very bright orange when said powers are active! Unlike Yuuta though, Narugino seems to be able to turn it on and off at will.
FUN FACT: This character's name is a play on the Japanese phrase SEIGI NO MIKATA, which translates to "ally of justice."
Landlady of Korai House AND a super-genius inventor with unmatched hacking skills, Meika is eccentric and grandiose in almost every way possible... Except that she apparently has very little in the way of physical ability, her one personal goal in such being to simply pull off a headstand successfully. She may not seem like it at first, but to the other residents in the apartment complex she's actually quite the dependable and helpful friend.
FUN FACT: This character's name is a play on the Japanese phrase DAIHATSUMEI-KA, which translates to "great inventor."
The oldest tenant of Korai House, Rabura is a friend of Yuuta's sister and thus is quite close to Yuuta as well. Being nearly 30 she is actively seeking romance... But seems to fail miserably at it every single time. She works as a spirit medium, or more specifically an exorcist, yet doesn't even full believe in the existence of spirits to begin with due to her not having any REAL interactions with such. She does have a connection to the spirit world though, as she is the only person that Yuuta can possess whenever he needs to interact with the other residents of Korai House!
FUN FACT: This character's name is a play on the Japanese phrase CHICHI BURABURA, which translates to "breasts dangling."
Refusing to go to school following a certain incident, Ito has chosen to instead stay locked up in her apartment nearly 24/7 and just keep to herself. She has passion for only two things; Video games and yaoi... At least at first, for a third thing appears in her life that she comes to regard as more important even than her own self! Unlike the other residents of Korai House, Ito is reclusive and quiet, mostly keeping to herself and wishing to b left alone even when the others are trying to be friendly with her. She also displays a great deal of social awkwardness, though whether this developed before or after her reclusion is unclear. She is a cousin to Rabura.
FUN FACT: This character's name is a play on the term HikiOtaNEET, which is a fusion of the words hikkikomori (Someone who refuses to leave their home), otaku and NEET (Which stands for Not in Education, Employment, or Training).
Personal Opinions/Views: Okay... Where do I even begin for this series?
First of all, if you took a look at this seires and/or watched the first episode and went "Oh great, it's just another fanservice-ridden light-harem series with a quirky plot device to validate such..." YOU NEED TO STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND GO WATCH THE WHOLE SERIES, NOW.
I cannot stress this fact enough; Punch Line IS NOT the series you think it's going to be, not even remotely.
While it IS very much ecchi and there ARE the faintest ideals of a harem series, the general idea of either is waning by the end of the second episode and by the time episode 3 finishes you might be wondering if this is even the same story that you started with. We're talking time travel complete with paradoxes and manifest destiny, fight scenes with impacts so intense that the bass in the sound effects is sightly distorted and AT LEAST three major plot and/or character twists that are so far out of left field that they've gone around the world and hit you in the back of the head.
It is fucking amazing and I IMMEDIATELY recommend you watch it... ESPECIALLY before reading any more of this journal! I'm going to avoid spoilers as much as I can, but the plot is so sensitive with detail that there's almost nothing I CAN openly talk about otherwise!
So I guess we'll just focus on the usual stuff first.
First as always is the look and feel of the show. Punch Line isn't winning any awards for visual innovation, nor are the characters anything that hasn't been seen in other anime out there... However in a way that works perfectly, because the series is so understated at most times and so the lack of over-the-top visual flair HELPS guide your mind down each new avenue of insane plot detail that comes up. I WILL say though that the series does an amazing job with combat, making each hit look particularly mean without going to DBZ levels of intensity... Which is saying something when the superhuman ones can literally lift a bus with little-to-no issue. The characters also may not stand out as much as iconic ones that any anime fan would know, but they ARE super adorable and memorable in their own ways, not to mention each of them are very endearing and hard to forget.
The sound design of the series is quite nice as well. The music is forgettable, but the sound effects are wonderfully well done... ESPECIALLY in combat moments! The sound of impact on the harder hits all carry a slightly distorted bass, an artifacting almost, as if the power behind each punch and kick is so great that sound itself can't make sense of it. The voice acting is also as fucking awesome as ANYTHING out of Japan ever is... And yes there IS an English version you heretics, but like always I don't know a thing about it nor do I care to find out. The VAs in Japan do a wonderful job of personifying their character through their performance though, especially considering the characters don't have a lot of overlap in terms of personality so each one feels all the more unique.
Next comes the plot itself... Which is impossible to talk about without spoiling EVERYTHING EVER. I swear to you, when I decided to watch this series I had only seen clips of the first episode and I would've never guessed what it was going to become! This series tricks you into thinking it's going to be a purely fun romp through a land of panties and comedic scenes of the world ending... But then, rather quickly, it becomes the sort of series where you wouldn't be blamed for making a connection wall filled with lines of string as you try to piece all of it together. I'm not joking here either; The time travel gets far more intense than some films do, and there are three characters who have a particularly confusing twist from their past that all but requires you to pause the episode and think about it at length just so you can fully understand who is whom.
It's crazy how much thought went into this series, especially when the first episode has NOTHING to prepare you for what's to come and as a result turns off A LOT of people who might enjoy it! If you're the sort who hates fanservice and such, or even harem anime, you'll likely drop this series immediately because that first episode of Punch Line doesn't LOOK like it could conceivably be anything else. Each new episode presents a new mystery and/or a new set of questions in your mind... And like a GOOD series should, it gives you all the hints you need to draw your own conclusions before actually giving you the confirmation of such! Somewhere around the 4th or 5th episode I had a moment where I realized I knew EXACTLY where the plot was trying to go, and I fucking loved it... And then by episode 7 it had thrown an entirely different curve ball at me which left a NEW thing to be figured out and understood! Punch Line has that perfect parabolic mystery arc of "Wait, what? What's going on? Oh? Oh. OH! Ohhhhhh!" Except you get to experience it at least three different times!
So now let's talk the cons to this series... And the first one is a complaint that I've expressed MANY times over by now. The fact that a series like this only runs 12 episodes is an utter shame, and you can REALLY tell within the last 2-3 episodes that the writer had to very quickly or conveniently explain a few things that were otherwise seemingly planned to be expanded upon.
When you have time travel and major plot twists like this, a dozen episodes are just nowhere near enough to tell the COMPLETE story to its fullest! As a result the series can sometimes feel like it's moving a bit too fast, or at the very least like it's not giving you he time to process major revelations. As I said before, there are three characters whose are very closely tied together, and the big twist concerning them is covered in a scene that spans less than 1/4 an episode and then is treated like the viewer should perfectly understand it... Which is helped none by the fact that, until the second to last episode, a certain character point is never CONFIRMED and so the twist between said three characters doesn't seem to add up at first.
The other major issue I have with this series are some things regarding the ending. First, it seems to implicate an eternal loop even though Yuuta SUPPOSEDLY fixed the timeline and saved the world and all that good stuff! There's also HUGE gap of time that is glossed over very quickly just before that point as well, which if you're like me will be disappointing because some of the events set to take place in that time were things that you were hoping to see pan out... Nevermind the fact that it doesn't make COMPLETE sense in regards to time travel, because the fact that some of the things in the characters' pasts happened AT ALL would then directly mean that everything HAD to work out perfectly at some point in history!
Secondly, from what I understand though, the NEW history that follows the timeline after the series' conclusion is what the sequel manga is based upon... BUT NO ONE HAS TRANSLATED THE FUCKING THING! This is particularly frustrating because the manga is only two volumes long and BOTH are available on Amazon Japan in Kindle format, meaning they're already cleaned! What's more is that the manga hasn't even been looked at by official translation companies, so it's not even on the same morality compass as MAJOR series! It would be almost effortless for a scanlation group to translate the manga... Yet not a single one I've gotten in contact with is willing to do such, even if I myself purchase the Ebooks and then send the file to them!
At this point I'm probably just going to find someone who can translate each page into English, then I'LL personally do all the typesetting and formatting and repackaging myself... And I'm being 100% serious about this; If you see a Punch Line manga in English it MAY very well be because I personally put in the effort to get it done.
I REALLY wish I could get into more detail with this series, but everything good about it that drew me in is a major spoiler that completely defeats the very purpose of explaining it! There's nothing I can say except that you HAVE to watch this series for yourself... And please, DO NOT let the first episode or two fool you! It won't be at all what you're expecting/thinking it'll be, I promise.
Until next time, my fellow Nippon nakama!
Hint for next month: This series comes at you hard and fast, leaving you confused about your feelings (And more) and then disappearing as quickly as it came even though it just changed your life forever... Just like the real-world thing it's supposedly an allegory for!