atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#194: Mahoromatic and some other comments

...yeah, it's a keeper.

I can't really say all that much about the series since I've watched only five episodes, but I had to make a conscious decision not to watch more of it. I'm very pleased with what I've seen.

My only real complaint is with the translation. I've got a "region 0" sub of the thing (read: "Taiwanese bootleg") done by the same company which did the box set of Studio Ghibli films I have. They are not bad--at least I've seen no super-howlers like the "region 0" bootleg of Marmalade Boy ("...bite out the seared tomato..." for a line which is generally translated, "Is love like the bittersweet taste of marmalade on burned toast?")--but they're not very good, either. Most of the text is not translated, and since most of the characters are introduced with text cards rather than via spoken lines, it means some guesswork for the viewer.

Most of the characters are described in Steven Den Beste's review of the series, but not all.

The set I have is the first season. I expect I'll have to either go looking for the "region 0" second season, or put up the cash for the box set. *sigh*. The latter is, of course, preferable, particularly since the translation will be better.

The series is by Gainax, and the above review mentions that Mahoromatic contains the usual Gainax train wreck warp core breach ending.

Den Beste says that they couldn't have made it a worse ending if they had been trying to ruin it; but I honestly wonder if they actually did try to make it like that.

The avant garde in art seems to center on the proposition of shocking and/or angering the audience. Anime is no different, and Gainax has already demonstrated time and again that they don't mind taking a good series and turning it into compost; and the viewing public never fails to laud them to the heavens for it even when the result is an utterly worthless cop-out that neither explains nor resolves anything in the story. (I'm talking about Neon Genesis Evangelion [NGE] here.)

The probem is that it is very easy to provoke shock and anger in an audience. It is much harder to move someone to tears with beauty than it is with horror; and most of the avant garde isn't interested in beauty, anyway, precisely because it is so hard to manage.

Some modern art is striking and thought-provoking; but Sturgeon's Law comes into play with a vengeance: "90% of everything is crap." And in some cases, some modern art is literally crap (Ofili's "Madonna", anyone?).

The process of building up characters and then wrecking everything in the last few episodes has become a tiring and clichéd technique, especially when applied by Gainax. It was hard enough to care about any character in NGE, but the few that were likable were killed the quickest and least sensically. I'm not looking forward to the end of Mahoromatic.

* * *

For some reason I downloaded the sountrack CD for Mahoromatic in 2002--from the usenet group alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.anime--and it has managed to survive on my hard drive for nearly five years. Considering that I hadn't seen any Mahoromatic before 11/28/06, that's interesting to me. I have cleaned out the hard drive from time to time, copying music files to CD-ROM rather than delete them entirely, but somehow the OST for Mahoromatic survived.

* * *

The 13-year-old main character of Mahoromatic, Suguru-kun, is lusted after by his buxom 25-year-old teacher; and she also has some lust for the other boys in his class in general.

I have to note here that Steven Den Beste doesn't seem as revolted by Shikijo-sensei as he does by Kimura-sensei from Azumanga Daioh, even though Kimura merely looks at high school girls and doesn't plot ways to molest them. Kimura is interested in girls above the age of 15 in general, and he has a crush on a specific girl later in the series, but he never lays a finger on her or makes any advances. Shikijo, on the other hand, is after a specific 13-year-old boy (Suguru-kun) and actively fantasizes about giving him a little "private tutoring" from the first episode in which she appears. She also gloms onto him repeatedly.

Of course, Kimura is presented in an entirely unflattering light, which is part of the whole point of the character in the first place. Shikijo's primary function is to give Mahoro a rival for Suguru's affections.

Well, I'm kind of the opposite, I guess. Kimura seems harmlessly eccentric to me; Shikijo's actions are kind of annoying. But neither one keeps me from enjoying their respective series, particularly since they drive some good comedy scenes.

* * *

I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

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