The Roll which Crunches

As should be obvious, I’ve subscribed to the anime-streaming service Crunchyroll. I hadn’t realized it but having so much anime available the instant you turn on your TV turns you into a complete binge-watcher. Remember my project to count how many books and whatever I watched in a single year? Well, I’ve extended it to the end of 2013. Anyway, from August 2012 to August 2013 I watched 427 episodes of TV. However, in September – the first month of my Crunchyroll subscription – I watched 131 episodes of TV.

The subscription has really changed my consumption patterns. Anyway, right now I’m running through some anime in my back catalogue so I’m watching Durarara, which I really like. Basically it’s about a suburb of Tokyo, the people who live there, and the way that their lives intersect. It’s kind of like the movie Crash except not dumb. At the very least you should give the opening a look, the song is pretty catchy (and why the hell is YouTube not allowing embedding of any videos of the Durarara opening, anyway?).

However, I’ve only seen the first five episodes of Durarara. Contrast this to giant robot anime, which apparently turns me into an undiscerning nine year old. I watched the entire first season of Valvrave the Liberator in one day; some weeks before that, I marathoned Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. That’s twenty-six episodes in total over one weekend.

I completely admit that the stories in both series were insipid and unoriginal. Valvrave has something about space vampires and Gargantia has a crashed mech pilot trying to make a living on Waterworld Earth. The plot for both isn’t really important or distinctive but I still kept sucking down episodes. I suppose they’re deliberately designed so as not to engage higher brain functions – perfect for binge watching, in other words. The need to think while watching is probably the reason I haven’t seen anything but the first episode of Orange is the New Black. I like the show but there’s this psychic weight hanging over it.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse would have been another binge watch except it’s of the “pendulous and gratuitous tits” school of anime which is almost unwatchable for me. Dammit, if I wanted porn I’d get porn, I don’t need some Maxim-style softcore shit to get in the way of the story.

But do you know what’s unequivocally good? Squid Girl, a show about a dim-witted anthropomorphic squid who invades the land to punish humanity for polluting the sea but almost immediately gets tricked into working as an underpaid part-time waitress for a beachside restaurant. The narrative structure is very Azumanga Daioh in that it’s short vignettes about the main character’s everyday adventures. Highlights include when Squid Girl discovers umbrellas and when she finds out she’s an idiot savant at math. It’s very much a show about nothing, also like Azumanga Daioh, essentially being Seinfeld if the main character was a teenaged female cephalopod. Also like Azumanga Daioh, Squid Girl is so cute and sugary that I feel like I should brush my teeth after watching. Still, I’m laughing my ass off at every episode so far.

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