So yesterday I went over to my old apartment complex to see if they had a package that I believe I accidentally had sent there instead of here. Unfortunately, the only person in the office was a temp or newbie or something who didn’t know where the key to the package closet lives. I shall go back tomorrow. If they don’t have it in the office (e.g. if it went into my old mailbox), presumably I won’t be able to get my hands on it, and I’ll have to leave a feedback that says, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure this was a good transaction…”
While I was there, I went to Pierre’s apartment. He came to the door and looked out the peephole and then just stood there in silence, like, pretending I couldn’t hear him or something. I know about a month back (he claimed) his phone wasn’t working, but it was working yesterday; I know because I was calling him as I approached his door, and I heard it ringing inside as I got there.
Anyway, his behavior pissed me off so much that I was in a rather bad mood for several hours after that. Despite this, I was very productive. My HH chapter is almost finished. I might be able to finish it today, though at the moment I am writing an lj entry instead.
Eventually I randomly decided I wanted a DVD-copying program, and ran off to Wal-Mart to see if they might happen to have one I didn’t have to wait to have shipped (and run the risk of having sent to the wrong address XD) They didn’t, so I went to the mall. I was still rather in a bad mood at this point. I bought one yaoi manga at the mall and then went to Best Buy. Best Buy only had the same crappy-looking program Wal-Mart did, and then I got distracted by anime.
I don’t usually buy western-release anime anymore, since bootleg boxed sets off ebay tend to cost about 80% less and often have bootleg subtitles that add significantly to my enjoyment, but Best Buy had a couple of really good deals. I shouldn’t have spent the money… I should have known better than to go shopping at all in a mood like that. Anyway, I got the first Busou Renkin boxed set and Gakuen Heaven.
I’m wary about watching Busou Renkin because I’m sick and tired of manga after manga after manga (in this case a freaking Watsuki manga) being turned into crappy anime, but of course I’m not going to not watch it. I haven’t started it yet, because of course I had gay stuff to watch first; I’ll probably watch it after I’ve finished this week’s HR. Whenever that happens. And keep my fingers crossed that they haven’t massively screwed it up. I’m already a little worried because one of the “collectible postcard” items inside the box shows Ouka, and wis the number of episodes in the set I’m worried that this is an indication that they’re rushing through the story. But whatever.
Gakuen Heaven. Wow. I have not enjoyed an anime this much in I can’t even remember how long. Seriously, what was the most recent series I liked this much?? GetBackers? I don’t know.
At first some of the sillier aspects of the episode plots, as well as the unsubtle use of dramatic or adventurous score, and some of the odd characterizations — all of which seemed almost campy — threatened my enjoyment of the series. But none of it was bad; some of it toned down, and the rest I got used to. I was also worried at first about character overload, considering how many of them were introduced in the first episode alone. That worry was entirely negated when they all turned out to be unique and interesting enough that I was able easily to keep them all straight (heh) after only a few more episodes.
The main character (who, I discovered whilst doing the usual cross-referencing, coincidentally has the same seiyuu as Kazuki in BR) was not annoying, which automatically gives the series points over Gravitation (the series to which any gay anime must inevitably be compared at some point). As a matter of fact, I thought he was adorable. He was too nice for his own good most of the time, which was just really cute. I’d have slapped Naruse in the face the second or third time. OK, well, no, I wouldn’t have. But it would have been a natural reaction.
In fact, Keita was so nice, I kinda got the feeling that everyone in the series wanted him to a certain extent. Not to the point of breaking up any established pairing, but definitely far enough that a threesome would be Keita’s for the asking pretty well anywhere on campus.
The main couple was also not annoying, giving the series points over about half the shounen-ai material in the world. They were believable and likable — even so far that I actually wasn’t shipping either of them wis anyone else (though I wouldn’t have objected to any of the aforementioned threesomes), which is a rarity XD — and weren’t too painfully seme x uke. I mean, of course, you knew who was seme and who was uke, but that doesn’t really lose them points since it is, unfortunately, a standard of the genre. But they weren’t manly x girly, so I wasn’t forced to stab myself or my computer monitor. And they left me wis a really good feeling and no misgivings at the end, so they win.
The side-pairings were probably what really made me love this series. In most straight series where gay side-pairings are implied, there’s usually this overwhelming sense of cocktease: you know that, canonically, they’re actually all straight and these gay insinuations are just fanservice for the faghags. But in an openly gay series, you don’t get that feeling. So although only one of the side-pairings in Gakuen Heaven was actually overt (at least on one guy’s side), you don’t have the disparaging knowledge that it’s all in your head hanging over every painfully-close-to-canonically-gay friendship like a wet blanket, and are free to assume whatever you please. I’m not saying that we don’t all already assume whatever we please… but every time I see some implied gay pairing in a series that isn’t gay, there’s this bitter, almost angry tension about assuming the guys are actually getting it on behind the scenes that arises from the knowledge that I’m just being teased because the creators know I like it but aren’t willing to go all the way even wis a minor character. But enough on that.
(For the sake of anyone who’s reading this who’s actually seen this series and knows the characters, my favorite side-pairing would have to be Shinomiya x Iwai.)
So anyway, the overall plot was fairly engaging, despite suffering from some pacing problems, a couple of unanswered questions, and an overtypical primary villain that laughed evilly. Also the entire school board laughed evilly, and that just about killed me.
The animation was good. It’s always a challenge, I believe, in a series where all the characters are the same sex and of similar age — especially when it’s set in an environment where they all dress similarly such as a school or an office — to differentiate one character from another visually wisout resorting to the good old florescent hair colors and psychotic styles. Here they did an excellent job on that, even managing to make it easy to distinguish between two guys wis almost identical black hair. Possibly because the characterization for each guy was so distinct. The voice-acting was good, of course, though I’m terribly amused that they got Yohji’s seiyuu for a character who looked exactly like Yohji. I’ll take this moment to add that, incomprehensibly and to my utter and complete delight, there was no dub track on these DVD’s. The music was mediocre.
Other random comments I have are that it amused me that it ended just like GEF, and that Naruse/Ozawa twins threesome is so a thing that happens. Overall, I really, really, really liked this series. It’s surprising how satisfied I was at the end, considering one single kiss was the friskiest it ever got. That takes some doing. Anyway, apparently the pairings are all different in the manga (which, as far as I can tell, is also based on the same series of video games the anime is), so I’m excited to read that since there are more awesome pairing possibilities in this series than I’ve ever freaking seen.
So after watching that, I first searched DA for fanart and faved some of those (Nakajima is hot and looks like Brad, but why does he get so much fanservice over everyone else?), and then went to ff.crap to see if there was any decent fic. Out of the 69 Gakuen Heaven fics there, about 15 of them looked good enough to open; of those, I managed to get all the way through and comment on one. Which is actually a fairly good ratio for that place XD
Watching six hours of anime and then reading fanfiction always completely kills my productivity drive, so after that I just trolled ff.n for stupid RK summaries until bedtime. But I was in a way better mood because of Gakuen Heaven, so good jobon it. Today my productivity is doing well, though, as I mentioned, this entry is taking up valuable time. But I had to get all that GH stuff down. It actually looks suspiciously like a really fangirly and not terribly coherent review, and anyone who even glances at my lj occasionally probably knows how often I’m given to writing reviews. Further proof of how much I enjoyed the series.