Do anime shows and movies suck?

Posted by H-man 
Wait....so is this "Origin" anime an animating of the manga, which itself was a retelling/expansion on the original anime series? How meta. Actually, I've quite enjoyed the "Origin" manga and would recommend it.

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[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
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hillsy
Wait....so is this "Origin" anime an animating of the manga, which itself was a retelling/expansion on the original anime series? How meta. Actually, I've quite enjoyed the "Origin" manga and would recommend it.

The Origin manga is great, and the Vertical release is stellar. Funny, I was just re-reading the first volume, and Anno's essay in there about how Yoshikazu basically abandoned the anime industry.

The anime seems to be a series of movies that go through the flashbacks, so not necessarily a retelling of "First Gundam" but animating the flashback sequences that were new to the manga (the first focusing on Casval and Artesia).
I concur on the Vertical hardbacks of Gundam Origin. They are fantastic.

Anyone else watching Space Dandy?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2014 01:44AM by fel9.
Is "Space Dandy" worth trying? I sat thru one episode, thinking "Huh? The Cowboy Bebop folks did THIS?!?"

I did finally finish "Fate Zero" (cool) and "Sword Art Online" (fine) but hesitant to give "Kill la Kill" a chance... do I really want to go there?

Oh... Netflix just released "Knights of Sidonia" and based on a couple of episodes so far, it looks promising (and visually, it's fantastic).
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Sanjeev

Anyway, so regarding 0083...someone stealing a weapon of mass destruction is a popular mecha anime trope? Maybe, but I can't imagine THAT, in and of itself, turning anyone off from the show.

The problem I have with it is that the GP-02, a prototype, was loaded with live ammo, including a nuclear warhead, based on the decision of a single person...in peace time. Then it was stolen by that person.
Now I admit, I haven't been to army bases in peace time much, except for air shows, but this is the equivalent of stealing a super secret stealth fighter (not just the file with the plans, the actual thing) and as far as I know security on that kind of thing tends to be quite tight, with decisions related to it tiered over multiple people throughout the hierarchy...

Compare that to most other Gundam series, where the Gundams are generally stolen while the base or space station they are housed in is being shot to pieces by enemy forces, which makes the success of the operation slightly more believable. Except that in those series the pilots are young, highly intelligent kids, or the Gundams have extremely superior (plot-dependent) armor compared to the grunt mechas, which is also quite unbelievable of course.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
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microbry

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And yeah, Gundam... I pretty much given up on it around the time of "Gundam Seed"....

Same. But I heard this new show was UC and was based on a pretty popular novel series. Man, you'd think Japan's premiere giant robot scifi franchise would suck a whole lot less...

I'm going to destroy all my credibility now and mention that I rather enjoyed Seed. Certainly more than any other non-UC Gundam series and more than a couple UC ones as well. I liked it as a sort of over the top, melodramatic pulp pastiche of the various prior Gundams, with a remixed retelling of First and Zeta mixed with elements from Wing and others, and even a few nods to other mecha/sf anime. That said, I went in with pretty lowered expectations, and watched it as a set of marathon binge views rather then slogging through it week by week, and thus also able to skip recaps and such.

I'm certainly not going to defend it for excellent writing or super-compelling characters, but at a time when there wasn't much else to watch mecha/SF-wise, it filled that void well enough for me. And now I've seen all of Unicorn, I feel Seed was more my thing in the end than that series was.

And Lacus was pretty awesome doing her Minmay/Voice of Arcadia/Captain Yurika Nadesico thing. Or Waltfeld doing the Ramba Rall thing with his Dancougar Zoid...[gundam.wikia.com]

I think Seed is the Gundam show I actually like the most. Its successor, Seed Destiny is considerably worse, especially the first half (also due to a certain character who was supposedly obliterated in the previous series...). Once Kira comes back it gets better in my opinion - although I understand most Western audiences hate Kira. The problem is that during the first half of the show almost all the characters are unlikable to a degree or have characterisation problems (Athrun, I'm looking at you) that cause continuity problems with Seed. Then there's the massive amount of reused animation and flashbacks... On the other hand, it's probably one of the darkest Gundams out there, with genocidal maniacs on both sides using mass destruction weapons on a global scale (earth pretty much ends up like in the original Macross ending...).

Unfortunately the movie that is supposed to conclude the story is in development hell...

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
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thomas
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Sanjeev

Anyway, so regarding 0083...someone stealing a weapon of mass destruction is a popular mecha anime trope? Maybe, but I can't imagine THAT, in and of itself, turning anyone off from the show.

The problem I have with it is that the GP-02, a prototype, was loaded with live ammo, including a nuclear warhead, based on the decision of a single person...in peace time. Then it was stolen by that person.
Now I admit, I haven't been to army bases in peace time much, except for air shows, but this is the equivalent of stealing a super secret stealth fighter (not just the file with the plans, the actual thing) and as far as I know security on that kind of thing tends to be quite tight, with decisions related to it tiered over multiple people throughout the hierarchy...

Compare that to most other Gundam series, where the Gundams are generally stolen while the base or space station they are housed in is being shot to pieces by enemy forces, which makes the success of the operation slightly more believable. Except that in those series the pilots are young, highly intelligent kids, or the Gundams have extremely superior (plot-dependent) armor compared to the grunt mechas, which is also quite unbelievable of course.

You would think, after a while, though that they would either stop developing super weapons in peace time or at least put a sufficient security force to successfully guard against them being stolen without having to rely on rookies or nascent NewTypes or whatever. MSG (failed), 0080 (failed), 0083 (succeeded), Zeta (succeeded with three prototypes), ZZ (succeeded), then of course Seed, Seed Destiny etc. The rule is usually there's peacetime complacency, but do it like Wing/OO and do it in absolute secret if you're going to develop superweapons.
Speaking of Wing and OO, are they watchable? Wing was broadcasted on TV here back in the day, but I only caught a few episodes and it was too far into the season to understand much about what was going on. OO...based on the synopsis it looks like something I'd hate.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
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thomas
Speaking of Wing and OO, are they watchable? Wing was broadcasted on TV here back in the day, but I only caught a few episodes and it was too far into the season to understand much about what was going on. OO...based on the synopsis it looks like something I'd hate.

Wing sucks pretty bad. Every stupid cliche from the Universal Century gets carried over into a world where it's up to a Boy Band of Assorted Personality Types to save The World and Everything from an Ambiguously Evil Tour Promoter using their Very Special Rowbutts that eventually get upgraded into Upgraded Very Special Rowbutts just in time to help them win the Battle of the Bands.

Anything Gundam is bound to be pretty fucking stupid, though I find War in the Pocket and 08th MS Team to at least be tolerably stupid (for the most part). But the absolute best Gundam series ever is G Gundam because it fully embraces the idiocy of the franchise and runs with it, though unfortunately the Japanese Gundam is the least inspired generic design of any Gundam Hero Mecha ever. Sadly, there's not even a shred of stereotype to it.
Sanjeev (Admin)
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Gcrush
Anything Gundam is bound to be pretty fucking stupid, though I find War in the Pocket and 08th MS Team to at least be tolerably stupid (for the most part).

Truth.

I'd probably add 0083 to that mix, but I would *highly* recommend fast forwarding through all the soap operatic bits between the main character and the love interest. And while I haven't actually sat through it myself yet, the original MSG series probably qualifies as "essential viewing"...if for nothing other than historical purposes.

But beyond that--and not to sound overly-cynical--I often wonder just why the fuck Gundam is so popular. I mean, I get ROWBITS and I get the historical context...the transition from superhero robot to realistic mecha. Most of it is just so damn bad though... :/

The bulk of *my* nostalgia for Gundam comes from little more than...uh...nostalgia. Besides all the dubbed anime I watched as a kid on tv in the US, Gundam was one of the first mecha cartoons (seen only on bootleg VHS via comic book conventions) I'd seen. Fisher Price My First Mecha.
I find a lot of Tomino's shows quite underwhelming, in spite of the hype they tend to get. As kids' shows they are fine, but when viewing them as an adult I often find myself going "But why would you be so stupid to do that?" at characters (especially space ship commanders) and feel bothered by the plot holes and character design recycling. So I guess it's a lot of nostalgia coloring people's vision.

In other news, they finally started releasing the Patlabor OVA's on Region-2 English-language DVD. Hopefully the TV series will follow. It's funny how the OVA's use plots that are very similar to the Patlabor manga, but still are different in quite a few details...

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
Well to be fair, Tomino was trying to compromise, taking on these big toy commercial series and injecting some pseudo-realism into them and improvising along the way. Currently I'm really enjoying Xabungle, which is perhaps the goofiest and most light-hearted, played for gags series I've encountered from Tomino. The demographic these shows were going for were young people who were old enough to appreciate some sophistication in the material, but it must have been something to work through these improvised story structure changes and keep it flowing "smoothly".

But yes, rose-tinted glasses, exactly. I'd argue that writing is far better in many a current anime than it was back in the 80s. Part of that is because many are based on pre-existing novel series (or other works) now, and also don't have to pad a story out to stretch across a whole year. I think 12-26 epsiodes is a good range for telling an interesting story with less filler material and padding. That's not to say there weren't great, groundbreaking series, or some simply plain fun ones back then, mind you, but IMHO the past is way overrated. ;)

And no, I'm not talking about harem show X or four girls in a club show Y, lol (not that there can't be good outliers on their own merits, but I'm talking about shows with real, interesting stories, and about protagonists that aren't just the same old, same old). But I'm a hardcore lifelong otaku so I do admit some bias there, too.
So, my thoughts on "Girls und Panzer":

What it clearly is not: The great feministic manifesto that some people say it is.

It seems to me that the only way to see it as such is to be a casual anime viewer with zero knowledge of Japanese martial arts and unisex schools. In my opinion it is no more than a pastiche on naginatajutsu, with tanks replacing the naginatas and vaguely militaristic school uniforms replacing the armor (men, do, kote, etc.). The clearest indicators of this are 1) the way Tankery is described, meaning to educate a young lady in the proper (traditional) values needed for life, and 2) how the girls can't imagine guys doing Tankery. The latter matches the fact that more girls enlist in naginatajutsu in Japan than boys, while for kendo this is the opposite (except in Europe, where these proportions are apparently swapped - if supplemental material ever includes something on Tankery in Europe, it would be funny if this were alluded to). The former, due to the traditional values involved, educating ladies into proper yamato nadeshikos, cannot be considered feministic due to certain properties of the yamato nadeshiko related to domestic duties.
Furthermore, as is stated several times in the series, Tankery is not supposed to an opposite-sex version of tank operation in war areas, but evolved as a sport for women separate from the use of tanks in war. Although the "Girls und Panzer"-world appears to be more female-friendly when it comes to mechanized sports, I did not get the impression that military tank use was any less male-dominated. From this point of view, it could even be seen as anti-feministic, as Tankery is shown to be fine for women as a sport, but nothing is known about whether real armies are more female-dominated in this world, meaning it may imply that women are strong enough for playing with tanks, but not actually professionally use them (mind you, maybe the supplementary materials say otherwise...).
Some of the comments made in the series lampshade the difference between the ideal view of what Tankery should bring a lady and reality, especially when it comes to obtaining and keeping boyfriends. This matches what happens in kendo and naginatajutsu, where training hard for several hours in a confined set of armor often leads to the participants stinking afterwards (in Tankery this is due to oil and smoke...), which apparently chases away certain males, who often beforehand claimed to be supportive of the sport chosen by their significant other, yet apparently cannot actually support their lady acting proactive and headstrong (and stinking).
Now I can fully understand that some of these things can only be understood properly if one has experience with the mentioned real-life martial arts, and that lacking such knowledge may lead to erroneous interpretations...

...however, several other details, especially related to the visuals, do indicate that this is not a feministic manifesto. Firstly, the character design clearly appeals to the esthetic of "moe". The girls are very cute, with big eyes and short statures. Several girls are very well endowed for their age, while others have quirks or attributes that basically will make people go "Squeeeee" and want to hug them (e.g. glasses, tsunderes, sleepy all the time, shell-shocked, etc., etc.). Team Hippo is very clearly designed to appeal to history buffs (and at the same time an amusing parody of such people), while miss Akiyama is a Panzer otaku who just avoids stating that Miho is her waifu - although it is not clear whether this is because Miho is female and she's a lesbian or because Miho is Der Kommandant (the latter may be more likely). Other girls get very 'interesting' reactions from riding in a tank and firing the cannons - paging Dr. Freud here...phallic symbols and little girls getting excited.
The visuals clearly set this series as one aiming for a certain category of anime fan, one that enjoys moe, but also one that can cope with a certain absense of degrading fanservice. Constant panty shots and lingerie scenes indeed are thankfully absent. On the other hand, one of the girls is shown in a rather revealing bikini showcasing her ample assets while washing one of the tanks, girls are given an impromptu wet t-shirt event - the results of which are mentioned (but not shown in detail), there is a bath scene in which we can discover that Miho is a bit better endowed than her uniform would make you suppose (although her combat suit makes her look even bustier in some shots), and so on. There's also quite a few remarks related to yuri (girls love). And the camera pans weirdly at times, especially when flesh is visible (basically a belly-to-neck-shot). Then there's the Anglerfish dance...
So my theory is that people who claim Girls und Panzer is a feministic manifesto may be "straw feminists", people who claim to be for independent women, but actually are not. Basically the kind of asshole who would leave their girlfriend when she reveals that she likes kendo and wishes to continue it...

"Girls und Panzer" also has a different kind of fanservice, that of Panzers. The Panzers are fairly delightful, but the technical aspects aside from their operation are not dwelled on in detail. The average mecha series has more tech porn than this series. On the other hand, the Panzer visuals are very nice and realistic.
However, some suspension of disbelief is required when watching, as several scenes featuring impacts or accidents should have left the girls with more than some superficial bruises. The one that gave me most trouble was a certain scene involving a rope bridge, where one of the girls faints after the tank takes a hit. Based on her location, she should at least have ended up in hospital with severe head trauma. Tanks commanders who stick body (parts) out of the turret hatch are also invulnerable to shrapnel and other debris in this series.
I'm also not very sure of the tactics used in the series...they look a bit flaky.

The typically Japanese scenes, often involving traditional houses and the like, are in my opinion the third type of fanservice in this series, and are directly connected to how Tankery is a traditional martial art. They are often used in scenes related to, perhaps, the main overarching thematic, that of finding your own way, and the acceptance of that way by parents. Talking of the plot, it is fairly simplistic and the drama was considerably lighter than what some online reviews suggest...

What I enjoyed in "Girls und Panzer" were the characteristic aspects of Tankery as a martial art, the tank battles, and in general the visuals of the series. There are quite a lot of visual jokes, such as one scene showing a water fight where someone uses a water bazooka. On the other hand, a scene of a bikini-clad girl washing a tank mostly makes me think "Please don't slip and please take a good shower once you're done"...

In conclusion: If you're looking for a series with an intricate plot, don't watch this. If you're looking for an amusing series with non-standard fanservice, light drama, humor and action, this is a fairly good series, but it still amounts to "Japanese traditions + Panzers + high school girls" and not much more. Personally, when it comes to "high school girls in unusual settings", I think I prefer "Bodacious Space Pirates" because unlike "Girls und Panzer" it plays less stereotypes straight.


Finally, a word on MVM's Region 2 UK DVD box: There are 2 DVDs for 14 episodes, and I wish they'd stop cramming so many episodes on so few DVDs, because there are clear compression artifacts at several points (especially the episode 5.5 ending). Activating the Japanese language track and English subtitles was not the easiest, because the choices that are activated are not highlighted - instead the inactive choices are highlighted (this is bone-headed). A certain song was still left off for this release, even though the offensive copyright situation is only a problem in North America. The first half of the contents warning made me raise an eyebrow "Contains glamorous images of weapons"...so does the average army website. The subs have a weird error, where instead of "anglerfish" they consistently use another fish name....despite the summary on the box using "anglerfish".


Fuck, I wrote a buttload of text there...

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SilhouetteFormula.Net



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2014 03:18PM by thomas.
Wow, that's a fairly impressive commentary. I can't imagine someone over 15 (okay, give or take a few years) seriously defending this series as being some feministic manifesto, largely for those same reasons. I mean, the characters are designed by the guy that did Strike Witches and Sky Girls.. this is pure seinen moe fantasy, through and through (if not as over-the-top fanservicey and male-gazey with the girls as those other two, it makes up for it with plenty of tank service for military otaku to drool over instead...) .

I've never heard or seen anyone do so, but then again, I've only watched the series as a casual fan and most of the chatter I hear about it from friends is more about which historical tank battles (and movie ones) are being referenced by the series (not really an area of interest for me, but nice to hear about in passing). I'm surprised anyone has tried to take anything seriously in this show, which to me seemed like it was largely over-the-top satire, including of cultural gender norms in Japanese sports, and not a particularly deep or direct critique in any form.

The entire idea of minors participating in potentially deadly tank battles as sport and generally coming away with nary a scratch each time is already treading into cartoon reality territory as it is.

I agree that the unfortunately-titled Mouretsu Space Pirates is much better in the regard you mentioned, and I'd also recommend the surprisingly good (in spite of its seinen manga origins) Taisho Baseball Girls, which presents an even-handed, non-fanservicey story of a group of high school girls trying to create their own baseball team in Japan during the 1920s in the face of very strong gender biases and other challenges, although admittedly it doesn't contain any fantasy or SF elements.
Yeah, I'd be interested in seeing the origins of this Girls Und Panzer feminist movement... I would think you'd be hard pressed to find any anime targeted at guys to have a lot of feminist elements, let alone one with these character designs (though I freely admit I haven't watched the show).

Maybe it's a comparison thing? Like Girls Und Panzer seems much more feminist compared to, the really really fanservicey stuff? I mean there are tons of anime where girls are the only ones who can do stuff that boys are incapable of for whatever contrived reason (or maybe there's one boy that can but he's an exception or something), but that's more so that they can feature a cast of pretty girls for the audience. That doesn't seem to me to be that empowering.

Found this, is this the origin?
[altairandvega.net]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2014 04:18PM by fujishig.
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fujishig

Found this, is this the origin?
[altairandvega.net]

Part of it. I came to that page through another one that I can't find right now. :S I think people are mixing up "empowering females" and "feminism". For example, superhero comics have tons of very strong females, but considering their get-up usually consists of an embellished bathing suit with a cape (+ cleavage windows) and many poses look like they were traced from glamour shots (which make me go "ow, my back!" just looking at them) they can hardly be considered feministic. Instead, they basically cater to what superhero comic fans expect that female superheroes look like. I would have considered Girls und Panzer feministic if it were more realistically drawn and told the tale of a female team of tankerists rising to the top of a mixed gender martial art tournament where normally the males are the favourites due to gender stereotypes - stereotypes that would be thoroughly deconstructed during the series.

Anyway, I've ordered the OVA's, which as I understand it, are mostly about fanservice.

The latest anime I've watched is Miyazaki's Laputa, which was a bit more cartoony than I had expected (but very 1980s) and somehow also less magical than later Ghibli films. Basically, the world seems less fleshed out and too many questions are left unanswered - most of those relate to Sheeta and Laputa itself. The movie feels like it could easily have been 30 minutes longer without doing away with much of the pace.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
Actually the Panzer OVAs are a mix of some good humor and a couple of additional full episode scenarios if I recall. There is one bit with swimsuits, but the rest of the "service" is more cross references and factoids about both real historical stuff as well as some of the fictional backstory (the school ships).

Laputa is actually an old favorite of mine from that period. Miyazaki was trying to create something that felt like it could have been written in an earlier era, and wanted to revisit doing a simple, earnest adventure story after the seriousness around working on Nausicaa. I do think it still encapsulates a lot of what I have liked about Miyazaki, even if it isn't a particularly "complex" work. It's also very clearly largely inspired by his earlier work on the Future Boy Conan series, with a lot of similar characters and situations, condensed into a theatrical film. I agree the movie could have easily been longer and not suffered for it, even with it being one of his longer movies (just over 2 hours when including credits).
Sanjeev (Admin)
So, finished watching Grendizer tonight. Wow. Ouch. Well...the first half of the show was great. Second half? Not so much.

Definitely only recommended for the diehard fans.
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microbry
Actually the Panzer OVAs are a mix of some good humor and a couple of additional full episode scenarios if I recall. There is one bit with swimsuits, but the rest of the "service" is more cross references and factoids about both real historical stuff as well as some of the fictional backstory (the school ships).

OVAs now watched, and they were fairly amusing, although you have to know a lot about both history and technology to get all the references.

OVA 1 (and 2): I'm surprised there's no Panzer swimsuit merchandise being made for real. There's certainly a few jabs at using foreign materials for clothing collections in there - camouflage netting for skirts is rather reminiscent of the more 'out there' collections shown on some catwalks. I haven't yet been able to find a list of all of the (military and civilian) wetsuits shown. Some of the more historical-themed bathing suits were quite amusing (Roman-based one O_o;) and, hopefully, fictional, while others were historically accurate. Also LOL at Japanese bondage themed bathing suit. Also just realized the beach chair, beach umbrella and inflatable raft are likely in-theme with the use of the Panzer IV in Western Europe (France) late in the second world war...they look suitably vintage to have been used on French beaches shortly after the war.

OVA 3: Web to the rescue for the real world ships the school carriers are based on: [www.fybertech.com]. The historic school ships were hilarious, especially since they apparently go back to Roman times - don't ask me how they built them back then, probably the same kind of mystery tech as for pyramids. The whole bit about obtained more power through various methods was quite amusing, and quite rooted in both currently used and past experimental auxilary power sources.
Too bad no one has tried building a Lego School Ship yet...you'd think that with one being shown someone would try...

OVA 4: Anglerfish dance. It boggles my mind that no company has yet released figures of the cast in the anglerfish dance costume - seeing how fanservicy it is you would think they would jump on it. I had not realized the song was about preparing and eating anglerfish - or in this case, anglerfish girl >_< No wonder that dance is considered to make girls unsuitable for mariage...

OVA 5: Closest to a normal episode, with very little fanservice other than the kind that history buffs will appreciate. + Character development. Also, KV-2-chan will likely get chewed out for this...

OVA 6: A bit boring compared to the previous OVA. The sentai skit colors are amusing, as they are all real shades used for tanks. I suspect it might be funnier if you get more of the cultural references...

MVM's hijinks with the word "anglerfish" continue - subs use "goosefish" instead (technically right, but...), and the summary on the box uses "ankou". They should also proofread their stuff more closely, as the box says "...with their own brand of flare" (instead of "flair"). I have to recommend them for making a typo that fits the Girls und Panzer theme, though. ;)

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
So, being geeks, we probably all know how creepy dakimakuras often are (for those uninformed, a dakimakura is a hug pillow often featuring anime waifus in various states of (un)dress), and perhaps we may have seen those extra creepy multi-layered ones (basically these consist of a nude girl dakumakura with covers representing various layers of clothing, so people can "undress" them - how sad can you be?). Now, a dakimakura is something that will never, ever cross my doorstep. On the other hand, parodies of the concept amuse me greatly.

So when I encountered the Maus Cushion on Y! Auctions Japan I knew I had to have one.

Yes. Let that sink in.


Maus.

Cushion.


The seller helpfully mentioned it was almost in scale with the 1/35 Girls und Panzer models (just a little too large).


So I found the cheapest auction and plopped in a bid. It seems these things are not as popular as they ought too be, and I won the auction without ever being challenged. Perhaps the parody is a bit too obvious, and the people GuP is aimed at feel insulted? Or they just don't like soft things (other than undressable dakimakuras)...


The Maus is now sitting on my floor, doing its best at looking imposing. It's a little over a foot long. It is comfy and soft, and suspiciously huggable. Instead of smelling of oil and old armor plates, it smells vaguely of clean tissue. Unlike the real Maus, it is rounded and soft-edged. It is made by Banpresto, in China. And they didn't cheap out on the detail, it even has tracks underneath. My only complaint is the floppy barrel. Perhaps that too is a comment on the sad state of affairs in GuP's target demography, with regards to their love life? Who knows...

Anywayz, Picz. Soon.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
Hm...is it a pillow or a plush toy though? I think I've seen a dakimakura parody with the tanks before, but your description sounds like you're describing a plush toy more.

Personally I don't find dakimakura creepy (well, with some obvious exceptions)...I don't own any, but have thought about it for the novelty value and if the character was one of mai waifus or husbandos.

Come on, you know you want a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure daki. Yare yare, daze.


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