Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Drug War (Du zhan)

About a week ago I watched a film called Drug War. It's a nice little Chinese film that has the sort of climactic shootout that would please fans of another little Chinese film entitled Infernal Affairs. It takes a while to really build up the movie, but once it does get going it's a lot of fun. This isn't exactly a film that relies on action to keep the scenes going. With the exception of the ending, there isn't too much guns-a-blazin' sequences. It's largely thanks to the dynamic between the two lead actors that this movie gets going at all. 

It's certainly not as fantastic as Infernal Affairs, but the climax will cause comparisons anyway. It's a damn good final twenty minutes. However, I feel it's more important to talk about the build up to that part. 

The rest of the movie feels somewhat wooden. A bit too formulaic. Granted there's only so much that can be done with the whole "good guy catches bad guy at the beginning of the movie and expects the bad guy to turn over a new leaf" type of thing. It's the kind of setup that only Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro could make watchable, but only in their prime. Sun Honglei does hold up his end of the movie as the indefatigable Police Captain Zhang, but the character of Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) didn't quite convince me. That wasn't really Louis Koo's fault, though. 

The entire movie I knew Timmy Choi was still a bad guy. I just felt like his character was one dimensional from the start. It was only thanks to Louis Koo's abilities that he was able to get anything out of the character at all. 

Of course, the bad guy being the one dimensional bad guy while the good guy being the one dimensional good guy isn't always a bad thing. Many Westerns are iconic for just such a thing. "Bad is bad and good is good" can be comforting. 

However, I was expecting more from this movie (like I do from just about every movie made after the 1950's) and it didn't quite give that to me. 

Captain Zhang is the stereotypical tough-as-nails cop that won't quit until the job is done, but even though Sun Honglei's obviously given a role that is completely transparent to us he still manages to give us a performance that is nonetheless impressive. 

There are plenty of good scenes in this movie. I'm not sure how accurate some of the drug scenes are, but there's one scene in particular that involves Captain Zhang suffering from too many lines of cocaine that is just riveting. The scenes prior to that where Zhang has to impersonate two different people in order to get deeper into the drug world are also really good. 

I'm not too familiar with his work, but I'm sure Sun Honglei is a gifted actor. 

The scenes involving the deaf brothers are especially good, too. And the climax is fucking fantastic. 

There's a lot to like about this movie, but it falls just a bit short of the mark that it probably wanted to set from the start. It's good and maybe even better than it should be, but it's still a far cry from Infernal Affairs

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ten Bands I Should Like More (But Don't)

Welcome to my new list. It's been awhile since I've done one concerning bands. This topic struck me a few days ago while I was surfing on YouTube. I was looking at a song by The Rolling Stones someone else mentioned on a forum in the darkest corners of the internet. I didn't know the song or the album. So I looked it up and as I was doing so I thought about how many bands I say I like, but don't really know. I also thought about how many bands I like, but would like even more if they'd just stop fucking around with pointless experimenting in their later days. And I then thought about bands that seem like everything I should love on paper, but just pushed me away after hearing them.

There are a lot of reasons to not like a band, but these are bands I should like more but don't. Or maybe can't. Other people may (and do) love these bands. I'm not knocking that. I'm merely trying to explain why I don't like them more than I do now. In some cases I already like them to begin with in certain aspects, but not in others. In other cases I don't like them to begin with despite them having the ingredients I normally look for in music that should appeal to me.

So let's get to it:

10. Death - I cannot stand the sound of Chuck Schuldiner's voice. God bless the man. He passed away in 2001 after a battle with brain cancer. He was a fucking fantastic guitarist and helped pioneer "death metal." Yet his vocals, which are the very definition of death metal vocals, grind on me. And this is strange since I like plenty of extreme metal bands and have listened to quite a few that have a similar vocal delivery, but something just puts me off about Schuldiner's singing. My loss, I suppose.

09. Danzig - I like the Misfits and love some tunes from Danzig's catalog, but for some reason I just don't own a single one of his albums. I haven't listened to a single album. I suppose I shouldn't let a man's personality affect his music, but Danzig always comes off as a bit douchey to me. So maybe that's it. But for whatever reason I just can't seem to find time for Danzig. In world of instant streaming this seems like a thin excuse, but there is only so much time out there one can spend listening to new (at least for the respective listener) stuff. 

08. Black Label Society - Zakk Wylde plays a mean guitar. No doubt about that. Yet his songwriting is so terribly vanilla. Not terrible, but just vanilla. It's like he's writing just to sound metal and not actually be metal. His soloing, especially post-Ozzy, lacks any depth of feeling. It's all pentatonic rambling. There's certainly nothing wrong with technical skill, but it's a lot like being an author: It's cool to know big and complicated words, but the dictionary is one of the most boring books in existence and reading it page after page is tedious bullshit. That's what listening to a Zakk Wylde solo is sometimes like. He's talented and always has been, but he doesn't always know when to just... not play a million notes in a song and play a passage that actually sounds like music and not a scale. Dumbing it down isn't always a bad thing. That time spent on ridiculous soloing could be spent on writing better lyrics.

07. Tool - They are an oddity. They take longer breaks between albums than Metallica. They create songs that are so complex that even the guys at Dream Theater are casting jealous glances their way. Tool's album artwork is always something interesting and inspires something of a mysticism on its own akin to Zeppelin. I should like them. I should love them. But, while I've heard one of their albums and enjoyed it, I just couldn't say, "Hey, this band is the best thing in fucking ever!" They are okay, but maybe not worth the ten year waits between albums. If I was a huge fan of theirs I'd probably be stabbing pins into my Maynard James Keenan voodoo doll at this point. 

06. Blackmore's Night - Rainbow overstayed its welcome by a few too many singers and album and I think even Blackmore knew that. So when he formed his new band he was looking for something different. Thus Blackmore's Night came into being. But little did the unsuspecting world know that his new gig would be strictly renaissance music. Blackmore's love for flair should not have been a surprise to anyone. But a band that seems to be at home covering a Sonny and Cher song? I don't know. I've listened to a few songs and have come away with mixed opinions. Night has a beautiful voice and Blackmore still has the chops, but I think it's just a bit of a bridge too far for me. I cannot listen to them on a regular basis. 

05. Def Leppard - On Through the Night and High N Dry are underrated and had some serious choice cuts. Pyromania is a damn good album. Hysteria was a bit too syrupy, but listenable and almost as good as Pyromania is certain respects. I haven't listened to Adrenalize, but the song Let's Get Rocked is decent enough. But everything I tried to touch after that faded into the furniture. Yeah, I suppose they were more closely associated to the glam scene when compared to the N.W.O.B.H.M., but Leppard always had at least just enough bite to survive my own "glam metal" phase. I still enjoy their old stuff. Their new stuff... eh, not so much. 

04. Aerosmith - I love early Aerosmith. Almost everything up to and including 1989's Pump. After that, I just don't care. Their best album since then was 2004's Honkin' on Bobo, for God's sake. Honkin' on Bobo happens to be their last good album, too. I don't know what happened. But they don't have too many hard-rocking tracks to their name in my lifetime. It's just sucky ballad after ballad after ballad. I hate using the term "sold out" because I think it's used way too much by snobby fans that get way too clingy, but Aerosmith really did sell their souls to a few corporate devils at some point. Honestly, I think all of the outside writers ruined this band.

03. Thin Lizzy - I hear a few of their songs all the time on classic rock radio, but I don't really know who they are. Haven't really listened to them that much. They seem like a good band (judging from their Lynott days), but I just haven't done any in depth listening on them yet. Although my favorite song by them could very well be the lesser known Angel of Death. I stumbled on that song by clicking on a Vader cover of it on YouTube, thinking that Vader was covering a song of the same name by Slayer. But nope, it was a Thin Lizzy song. Go figure. 

02. The Rolling Stones - I really don't have any criticism of The Rolling Stones. I've liked most of the songs I've listened to. I just haven't pursued them. I don't know why, either. Like seriously. I don't. Paint It Black is awesome. 19th Nervous Breakdown is awesome. Start Me Up is awesome. So what's stopping me from going to Amazon and just buying a shit-ton of The Rolling Stones? Well, I just don't know. Maybe I don't know where to begin. Maybe there's just so much stuff out there by them and I have no idea where to begin. 

01. Anvil - I'm not sure if I'd say there's a lot of "hype" around this band because when your most recent effort only sales 800 copies during its first week there probably isn't a lot of hype. However, the documentary that made them, if not famous, then at least more well known made them seem like heavy metal's biggest secret. They have a few decent songs. Metal on Metal? Not bad at all. Juggernaut of Justice? That's pretty good, too. I also admire that they've kept at it for so long despite many setbacks. That's truly a metal mentality. 

But what stops me in my tracks with Anvil is their dreadful lyrics and song titles. I mean, normally I don't care if lyrics stop short of containing Rush-like complexities. AC/DC may certainly write the same song over and over again, but at least they do so with some wit. Anvil's lyrics are... just awful. Toe Jam? Just google those lyrics and ask yourself if you're looking at thrash at its finest or something that couldn't even make it onto a Poison record. The riffs are there most of the time. Maybe not iconic riffs, but there's a listenability there to an extent. Where Anvil just fails at being anything close to good is in the lyrical department. There's no symbolism. No depth. Just blandness at best and garbage at worst. Butter-Bust Jerky just doesn't have the same vibe as, say, any Slayer or Overkill song. It doesn't make me want to mosh. It makes me want to shake my head and wonder why anyone would say this band is better than they are when they are not.

But people, at least 800 of them, like Anvil. For some reason. Metallica said they liked them. Slayer, too. I don't get it. I'd like to like them, but I just... cannot. A different lyricist really could do wonders. Just as long as they don't get Zakk Wylde to do it. 

Himouto! Umaru-chan

Being an otaku is a great thing and Umaru knows it. She spends her days lazing about the house eating potato chips, drinking cola, and playing games. She loves to wear her hamster hoodie as she rolls on the ground with excitement over the newest issue of her favorite magazine. Her brother, a hard working salaryman, gets annoyed by her habits, but if she didn't excel at school he might just make a bigger issue out of it. 

Umaru is actually the ideal schoolgirl on the outside. She's popular, intelligent, and she's also much taller. This may sound strange, but when Umaru enters "otaku" mode she magically shrinks to chibli size and becomes almost unrecognizable. So the "regular" Umaru looks nothing like her true nerdier self. Anime magic at work. 

Her school friends do not suspect she is an "otaku" and Umaru does nothing to dispel their vision of her. However, Umaru isn't the only one with a nerdy trait or two.

At 12 episodes that are 24 minutes apiece, Himouto! Umaru-chan seems to have more in common with anime series that have episodes that clock in at only four minutes. One episode of this series really feels like a series of shorts pieced together. It's kind of like Looney Tunes but only if Bugs Bunny never left his rabbit hole and played video games all the time. 

There really isn't much in the way of plot, but since this is a comedy (and a good one at that) it can largely get away with much of the characterization (or lack thereof) going absolutely nowhere. 

This clearly wasn't going to be the anime to discuss any of the heavier social implications of what Umaru is doing. Essentially pretending to be someone else so she doesn't invite criticism on her chosen lifestyle. Nor does she seem to learn anything from watching the ones she is trying to deceive be nerdy themselves without the elaborate deception. 

At times I thought for sure Umaru's secret would slip, but it never did. So it would seem that there could be another season with more otaku-related hijinks in the future.

The series did feel a little long at times and not all of the jokes hit the mark, but it was much better than many other anime that tried to go the same route.

Pretty enjoyable stuff. I'd watch more if there was a second season. I just hope that Umaru improves her diet. Cola and ramen can only work so much magic.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone will forever be associated with his Spaghetti Westerns. That's a given. His films with Clint Eastwood and Once Upon a Time in the West are classics. 

But there is one film in particular that deserves mention. Call it an elephant in the room, if you will.

I've seen gangster movies. Lots of them. Just how many I don't know, but I could talk gangster movies for days. The first two Godfather films are all-time classics. Both Scarface movies are pretty damn good, too. Then of course there are Scorsese's magnificent contributions to the genre with the likes of Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, and The Departed (which owes everything to Infernal Affairs). And we can't really talk about gangsters without throwing the James Cagney gem The Public Enemy into the mix. 

There are plenty more out there. Those are just some of my favorites. But until today I didn't think that the first two Godfather films could be touched. I always thought they were "untouchable," if you will. 

And yet... and yet Sergio Leone pulled a rabbit out of his hat for his final film. Leone, the master of creating larger than life characters wearing cowboy hats, created what should be considered as one of the greatest gangster films to ever be made. 

This is one of the most engrossing films I've ever seen. At 229 minutes, this is a film that I wish could have been longer. I know there is a version that is 251 minutes and that a 269 minute version is crying for release from some cinematic dungeon somewhere, but I haven't seen the 251 minute version and it seems out of stock on Amazon unless I want to shell out for an import. The 269 minute version is probably doomed to never see the light of day. 

But man, was this movie good. Ridiculously disturbing at times, but good. 

The most surprising thing about this movie is how James Woods actually seems to outshine Robert De Niro at times. 

James Woods can play a dickhead better than just about anybody. We all know that. As soon as I saw his name on the credit list I knew he'd be a bad guy. I even said to myself, "I bet James Woods is behind everything." 

And I was right. I could see the movie's end coming a mile away. Maybe not the specifics exactly, but I knew James Woods and Robert De Niro would have some sort of confrontation in the end and James Woods would be the antagonist. That's just how the universe works. 

I still fucking loved this movie and want to see it how it was truly meant to be seen. De Niro and Woods hold this movie up into the stratosphere while Leone created a fantastic landscape for them to stand on. 

This could even be De Niro's best gangster role. I know that would be saying a lot, but his character was fascinating. He wasn't the good guy, either. It's tough to describe it, but even though he isn't the good guy he isn't the worst of the bad guys. In some ways he reminded me a bit of Keitel's role in Bad Lieutenant. Noodles is a character that is emotionally doomed by his choices. There's no happy ending for him and he honestly doesn't deserve one. Sure, he "survives" the movie, but that doesn't seem like a victory. He ends up a sad old man with nothing to lose while Woods ends up a sad old man with everything to lose. And in the end they lose each other and nobody wins. 

That may feel like a rip off to some people since this movie does take up quite a bit of time, but it felt like it couldn't have happened any other way. In some respects, I felt that Leone was showing his Japanese influences on this story much more so than any gangster influences he might have had. 

The ruminations over the two main characters as they go through life felt like a chapter out of Kurosawa Akira and their final conflict felt more in tune with Eastern philosophy than with Hollywood shoot 'em ups. Had this been a Coppola movie then James Woods would have been eating bullets from De Niro's hand. Maybe De Niro would have gotten offed, too. 

But both of them walked away from the conflict. Woods ultimately chose the path of seppuku in order to avoid being disgraced... albeit in a more Westernized fashion while De Niro's character just walked into the sunset with a melancholic sense of resignation. Somewhat like a gangster version of About Schmidt

I could talk more about this film, but there's only so much that can be gained and adequately discussed from one viewing of this fantastic movie. 

Trigun Maximum Omnibus Vol. 1 by Nightow Yasuhiro

This is the bridge between from what Trigun fans know to what they don't know. In some ways that makes it even better than the previous omnibus. It's exciting to read about Vash's adventures in new places, but it's amazing how much the anime stood by the manga despite that. While things were changed or abbreviated for the anime I don't think any of the changes were detrimental to the story. 

A good case in point would be when Wolfwood journeys to Vash's "home" on a still-floating satellite. In the manga Wolfwood is given a fairly welcome reception by the inhabitants of the satellite after he deals with Gray the Ninelives in an epic duel, but in the anime Wolfwood was shunned because he was an outsider and his fight with Gray meant nothing to them. 

In both versions the story is pretty good, but very different. Although Gray the Ninelives was cooler in the manga and the fight he had with Wolfwood was so much more badass. 

I mean, how can you not love an invincible robot ran by dwarves? 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The previous Trigun Omnibus left off with Vash creating a hole in the Fifth Moon and then disappearing for two years. 

This omnibus picks up with Vash after his "disappearance" and we discover that he is now living life under the name of Erics and is doing his best to live peacefully. 

Wolfwood, for reasons that aren't quite clear, has been looking for Vash for the last two years and it would appear that he finally has found him again. 

Both of them know that Erics isn't real and that with Knives still alive Vash cannot truly live a peaceful life yet. So it's time for him to abandon his pseudonym and pick up his gun again.

I always enjoyed that story in the anime so it's nice to finally read its manga counterpart. 

Vash doesn't seem to know about or remember Wolfwood's presence among the Gung-Ho Guns on the night of the Fifth Moon, but then we really don't know too much more than Vash does about this traveling man of the cloth. Why is Wolfwood affiliated with the Gung-Ho Guns at all and why is he trying to help Vash?

Wolfwood is often a stranger and more interesting character than Vash himself. And that's saying something. 

Vash believes in love and peace more than anything else and that they can conquer anything, but when he is confronted with a man that wants to avenge his daughter's murder Vash is presented with having to choose between his ideals and cold reality: Sometimes men just kill each other and that makes others want to kill, too. 

This point gets enforced even more when Wolfwood kills Rai-Dei the Blade after Rai-Dei falls to Vash during battle. Vash tells Rai-Dei not to kill anyone before going on his merry way, but Rai-Dei seems to be ready for a last ditch effort to take down Vash. However, Wolfwood kills him before he can try it. This in turn leads to a confrontation between Vash and Wolfwood that almost seems reminiscent of Legato's final confrontation with Vash in the anime. 

In the anime Legato held Vash's gun against his head and told Vash to kill him while holding Millie and Meryl hostage. In the manga Wolfwood also held Vash's gun to his head but says, "If you really believe I'm wrong, pull the trigger. In return, my role as the devil will be handed to you. That way, you won't hesitate to take out the next man that gets in your way." The similarities for that scenario really don't go much deeper. Of course, the context was different, too. It's just an interesting parallel with the anime and maybe I'm putting too much into it.

Obviously Wolfwood isn't killed by Vash and the two of them continue to be traveling companions.

Rai-Dei's death in the manga was so much cooler than the one in the anime, though. I'll say that much. Even though he was killed by Wolfwood both times.

Vash's brief respite is over and now that he is home again and reunited with Wolfwood and the Bernardelli Insurance girls (who can be said to be the real ones that defeated Gray the Ninelives), the fun times are looking even more promising.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Charlotte (Shārotto)

This has been a rough month for me, work-wise. Downright brutal, at times. It's been tough to really get up to any otaku shenanigans. However, I have managed to complete one kickass anime since my previous entry. 2015's Charlotte, brought to us by the heartbreakers at P.A. Works and Studio Key (who did the original visual novel), is the anime I wasn't expecting to define 2015.

And, no, 2015 isn't over and there a few more anime titles I can devour before the year ends, but it'll be tough to top the sheer spectacle of Charlotte.

Meet Otosaka Yuu, a guy that can possess another person's body for five seconds. The downside of his ability is that while he possesses another body his own becomes dull and lifeless until his five seconds are up. That and five seconds isn't really that long of a time. This might not sound like a special ability that can save the world, but he isn't out to save the world. He makes the most of his abilities while at school where he can cheat on tests and become the number one student in school. He also takes down bullies that give him grief, but he's certainly not out to save other people.

He seems like a poor man's Lelouch Vi Britannia or Light Yagami, at first. He certainly doesn't have a world-conquering initiative or a bit of true brilliance, but he's a dick that only cares about himself.

This is our main character? Great. This looks like a long 12 episodes, right?

Thankfully, his abilities get found out by a small group that want him to join a school of gifted but troubled students like himself. Basically a school not too different from Xavier's in X-Men, but this school is less about students learning to use those powers to fight and more about protecting the people with powers from the wrong people.

In Charlotte the powers disappear a few years after they appear and they only appear in young people so it's basically a suped up version of puberty. Adults don't have any powers even if they used to.

The student council is the group tasked with searching for young people with powers and Yuu is asked to become one of the student council.

Or not really "asked." He's more or less forced to become a member of the school and the student council so he can track down others like himself. This, the group hopes, will keep Yuu in line.

The rest of the series is more or less about his transformation from a selfish dick with no great aspirations to someone that could be a selfless hero that could save the world.

Honestly, this anime didn't seem special to me during the first few episodes. It had potential in a few key sequences, but sometimes it felt just like a normal anime. Watchable, but not compulsively so. Unless you're an otaku like me that watches shit just because of big cutesy eyes and moe.

Yet during those key sequences I knew Charlotte could be something awesome. 

At 13 episodes, I knew that if there was going to be a twist at some point it would be about midway, but if there wasn't some sort of twist or if the twist sucked then I'd more or less be disappointed. 

I don't think I've seen such a twist before, though. It knocked me over my head with a barbed wire-covered sledgehammer.

Although the quick change in the anime almost crippled it, too.

Our main character went from a guy that had a fairly lame superpower to someone that could just about do anything within a really short span of time and with very little in the way of training. It's the kind of super power up that would make Dragonball Z fans foam at the mouth. I know because I did.

At times it did strain logic. Yeah, it's "anime" and "real world logic" rarely fits into the world of anime, but this was a really well-built anime for the most part and what cracks in the story there were almost broke it and made it "normal."

Charlotte ultimately worked because it had an incredibly satisfying ending. And the time travel angle and the whole "this character is the strongest being ever" thing didn't actually destroy the established story. Excellent writing as far as that was concerned.

Otosaka Yuu's character growth is the meat and potatoes of this story and his evolution is handled remarkably well. Had his character been underdeveloped in any way I don't think the ending would have been as fulfilling as it was and I'd be tossing this into the pile of anime that impressed but failed to meet their potential.

I don't recall this anime being the best as far as the music is concerned. The animation had its moments of stunning beauty, but I'm not sure it managed to really distance itself that much from many of its modern day counterparts, either.

The story was fucking fantastic, though. For that alone I'd say it's a pretty damn good anime.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ultimate Otaku Teacher (Denpa Kyōshi)

I feel so incredibly lazy today. I don't feel like blogging or doing anything except lying in bed and listening to my Neil Young "Smell the Horse" soundtrack. But I must blog. I must. I've spent too much money to go out and buy shit so I've no choice but to stay home and do things like blog and sleep and stuff. 

So, running on a diet of eggs, Pepsi, and Crazy Horse, it's time for me to commence the first entry of October. 

Kagami Junichirou is a YD, a guy that does only what he "yearns to do." He spends his days blogging, watching anime, reading manga, and buying anime-related goods. So naturally I felt a kinship with him.  He even wore glasses and had red hair. We could be twins. 

However, Junichirou is a genius that doesn't have a job until his sister forces him to get one. He gets a job as a teacher (I guess they just give those out at the unemployment office), but Junichirou refuses to leave his otaku ways behind. So he does his best at every turn to instill his "YD" lifestyle into each and every student. 

The anime takes your basic "problem of the week" approach to the storytelling. A student will be in some sort of trouble and our resident YD solves the problem in his unique way. He's basically like an otaku version of House. Only instead of being addicted to vicodin he's addicted to figurines. 

As with a lot of "problem of the week" material, while some episodes are strong, it often feels like there isn't an underlying plot somewhere. There's not really any suspense. There's no "Man, I can't wait for next week's episode" feeling. It isn't even until the eighth episode that this anime even presents us with a truly fascinating multi-episode story. 

Araki Koutaro's arc not only contains shades of just about every video game-related anime out there, but it also touches rather seriously on a topic that is taboo. That topic being boys and men that crossdress. Yeah, I don't remember this stuff happening in anime when I was a kid, either. 

In the anime world, there are what are known as "trap" or "otokonoko" characters because there are males that are deliberately drawn as looking closer to females and this happens often enough for some reason. Especially lately. In most anime trap characters are just accepted like normal. And since it's anime and anime has no rules no one bats an eye. 
But in Ultimate Otaku Teacher the "trap" character is more or less given a life in a more realistic scenario. 

What if a long-time truant, after getting to know his classmates through a video game, decides to show up to school one day while dressed in girl's clothing? Would those that befriended him virtually still accept him in real life? 

I didn't see that scenario coming from this silly and relatively harmless anime. The ending of the arc is highly optimistic as far as the plight of the "otokonoko" is concerned, though. It was done so the arc could end cleanly and so that the anime could move on, but I felt that the discrimination factor was underplayed and that his acceptance was a bit too universal too quickly.

This arc was the best part of Ultimate Otaku Teacher because it was so unlike just about anything I'd seen before in anime. It was pretty ballsy stuff. I'm kind of shocked that it got an English dub, but times are a-changin', I suppose. 

Yet once the arc was over Araki Koutaro was basically forgotten about just like the other previous students that had problems solved by Junichirou. It was on to the next problem. This sort of approach, while it can work for a period of time, can't sustain a series for very long. Unless you're Case Closed (which is close 800 episodes now), that is. 

But Ultimate Otaku Teacher isn't as good as Case Closed and there's no way I could have watched this anime if it had been more than 24 episodes. It just wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The nod to Super Sentai (the originators of the Power Rangers) and Doraemon toward the end was neat, but the concluding episode was ultimately a bit lackluster. 

So Ultimate Otaku Teacher gets an average rating from me. Probably won't watch it again, but might if there isn't shit else on.