Dispatches From Winter 2011: PART 3 (Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n Dakara Ne!! and Fractale)

Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n Dakara Ne!!

In the year 2011, I feel as if I’ve grown numb to shows with titles like I Dont Love My Big Brother At All!!


I did give There’s no Way in 9 Rings of Hell my Little Sister Could be This Fuckable, But Also a Total Bitch (In Japanese, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai) a chance, mainly due to the pedigree of the staff involved, but ultimately the show was a complete flop, with its only saving grace being doujinshi based off of it. I didn’t expect much out of Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n Dakara Ne!! (Known hereafter as Ochinko), but I came out pleasantly surprised. I should have expected as much from a Comic High title! I do really enjoy Kodomo no Jikan, after all.

What makes Ochinko work is how upfront it is with its taboo subject matter–it just doesn’t give a shit. If you haven’t guessed from the title, the show is about Nao: a girl who loves her big brother… that way. Every single joke is based around her bold-faced attempts at getting into his pants, while providing the minimum amount of naivety to keep him in the dark. However, just in case it wasn’t clear, her calculated movements come with an inner-monologue to fully explain herself, reinforcing the lengths to which she plans her attacks. It’s over-the-top. It’s disturbing. It’s great.

But not to be outdone, her brother Shuusuke is an incredible pervert in his own right, with literal mountains of pornography shoehorned into every corner of his room. While he doesn’t actively go after his sister, he’s not above considering it, especially when waking up to her sleeping face at point blank range. Despite freaking out upon seeing a naked girl (like a typical anime lead), he is depicted as having a healthy interest in women, and that I can respect. Heck, his dad’s a big ol’ perv too. Basically, everyone in this show is fucked up, and that’s why it’s funny.

One thing that turned me away from the show initially was its designs, but I appreciate them a lot more in context. While there are casual panty shots and the odd nude shot, the designs are meant to be more cartoony than erotic, which strengthens the humor. It doesn’t feel like it’s actively trying to be a strip tease, like most fan service heavy anime tend to be.

While there is a touch of drama in this first episode, it isn’t taken incredibly seriously. So with that aside, my chief concerns are whether or not Ochinko can maintain its rhythm and sense of humor, and if it’ll benefit from the addition of the other two girls featured in the opening and ending sequences. I fear it’ll turn into more of a harem situation in coming episodes, but I pray that doesn’t become the case. And if it does, I hope it’s approached with the same guts that this first episode had.

Fractale


Noitamina’s pretty hit and miss with me–most of the shows they run are for the ladies, and since I’m a typical dimwitted male, I don’t really get into them. Hourou Musuko does seem to be very visually inventive, but you’re going to have to pay me to sit down and watch a sensitive portrayal of kids who can’t figure out what gender they are. Heck, you’d have to pay me to watch a sensitive portrayal of most anything. But it turns out Yamamoto Yutaka, that guy we all love to hate, has his own show airing on this arguably mainstream block of TV, so I figured I’d give his latest opus Fractale a whirl.

If I had to use one word to describe Yamakan, that word would be “pretentious.” After leaving Kyoto Animation, this guy has been doing nothing but talking smack about other anime, why it isn’t good enough for him, and how it’s not helping the industry. While there may be some truth to Yamakan’s observations, he’s done nothing to live up to his mouth. He directed Kannagi, a shounen romance show 100% targeted at otaku, and produced Black★Rock Shooter, another otaku money-maker. This isn’t to say these shows aren’t extremely well done, but they’re targeting the exact same niche and doing the exact same things Yamakan supposedly frowns upon. So while watching Fractale, there’s this overwhelming feeling of him trying to break away from his otaku roots… and it’s just not working.

I can’t say that I’ve actually seen the works Fractale draws upon, but if you’ve ever seen so much as a clip from Nausicaa, or know anything about Nadia, Fractale wears these influences on its sleeves proudly–so much so that it doesn’t feel that original at all. It also doesn’t help that I’m generally not a fan of sparse, rural, European-influenced settings. They do mix things up a bit–the show allegedly takes place in the future, and relics from past eras pop up in corners of the screen, which incites some interest, but not nearly enough. To complement this, the show casually drops some straight up exposition on its world as well, but that’s not interesting either.

In what seems like an attempt to draw one’s attention away from how unoriginal the setting is, Fractale’s world is partly populated by holographic avatars who stand in for people in faraway worlds. These avatars look like rejects from Kamichu or Welcome To The Space Show, and feel shoehorned in for the sake of trying to spice things up. Another thing that’s shoehorned in is the show’s soundtrack: It’s typical orchestral stuff, but in more than a few scenes it adds nothing, and in fact just distracts from the action. But the cracker–the one that just slays me–is that the show’s setting and presentation themselves seem shoehorned into an otherwise normal otaku anime. There’s a spineless lead, two mysterious girls, and one lolita. They even have a scene where one of the girls gets naked, and the lead predictably freaks out. With all this going on, the show’s setting and presentation only feel like an excuse to keep the whole affair respectable. It feels empty. It feels, well, pretentious.

I’m going to give Fractale a couple more episodes, but at the moment it just seems like Yamakan is trying way too hard to make something he’s just not good at. But maybe he’s not the one to blame. Maybe it’s Azuma Hiroki’s fault, he’s the one writing this thing, after all. But whoever’s fault it is, they better find a way to fix it fast, lest Yamakan quit anime forever and… go back to living with his parents, I guess.

If he doesn’t already.

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