Part 59: If nothing else, Im a glutton for punishment Conception: The Anime (Episodes 7-9)Special Update IV: If nothing else, Im a glutton for punishment Conception: The Anime (Episodes 7-9)
Yeah, were back again for another installment of this stupid show. I seriously considered just abandoning this little project. Unfortunately, in the end, the part of my brain responsible for all of my poor judgement won out. So here we go, I guess.
If you somehow erased the memory of the previous Special Update from your mind, then first of all let me congratulate you on pulling that off. Hopefully youve mastered the process of doing so, because Im about to give everyone a bit of a refresher.
On top of mangling the characterizations of Arie and Femiruna, the last 3 episodes included possibly the most tone deaf, poorly thought out, downright disgusting scene that this series could come up with. Yes, I realize that were only halfway through the series. No, I still dont think Im tempting fate by saying that. Itsuki was partially responsible for Femiruna getting a concussion and then he fucking kidnapped her from her own home and locked her up in a
This fucking show
Anyway, possibly due to the fact that Im 99% confident that this series cant go any lower than trying to make Stockholm Syndrome look cute and romantic and funny, Im pushing forward with the other episodes. Weve hit bottom, so it can only go up from here, right?
However, despite my recommitment to this, I want to point out that I will not be going into as much detail on these next 6 episodes as I did for the past 6. Part of the reason why is because I dont think the anime deserves that much effort anymore. Not after what it just pulled.
Which isnt to say that it ever really deserved the effort to begin with, but Well, let me put it this way: I was willing to go in depth at first because I thought it would be at least sort of interesting to see the differences between the source material and the adaption. The show quickly proved itself to be boring and strangely tame (compared to all its posturing and bluster through characters like Mana), so the only thing I could really do to make things entertaining was to focus on changes from the game and talk about whether I felt they were good (everything to do with Star Children) or bad (terrible character adaptions).
But even that isnt entertaining anymore (assuming any of you found it entertaining in the first place that is). Its like we were walking down a city street, looking at store signs and noticing little things happening around us. Not exciting, but it was at least something to do while we were going for a stroll.
Then episode 5/6 happened and we realize that weve entered the bad part of town, so our walk subtly changes to a jog and we stop making eye contact with everything, like were trying to pretend that we just now realized that were late for a meeting and need to hurry and that its totally not because we desperately want to remove ourselves from the area as quickly as possible without drawing too much attention for fear that we might get stabbed or robbed.
Anyway, episode 7. It opens with Mana writing fanfiction, because thats going to be a thing from now on I guess (this one is a murder mystery or something). At least this scene is limited by the 60 second timer that signals the writers lost interest and want to move on. The same thing that happens with every scene in this show.
This episode is the School Festival. God only knows what were in for with that, but Mana is rambling something about shared horror leading to eroticism or something (shes planning on a Mansion of Horror for the festival). I guess thats technically true, at least as far as media is concerned (i.e. Glad to be alive sex. Dont go to TVTropes by the way. At least wait until the update is done).
We might not know what were in for in terms of the school festival, but you know what is immediately clear about this episode?
This is really all I need to post.
Yes, its Taruas turn for a focus episode. I should mention that that screenshot above is from Itsukis perspective looking down from atop the academy roof. Tarua proceeds to crash into him and knock him over. No, there is no scene in between these two. Tarua literally runs straight up the side of the school. I would find that a little funny/cute, if I hadnt been made extremely jaded by this series. Anyway, Tarua delivers a letter to Itsuki from Collette.
I miss you little buggers. I wish the rest of this series was focused entirely on your exploits.
Alfie shows up as well, continuing her fight for relevance in an adaption that she was created especially for. Her Japanese Idol thing seems to be taken a step further in this, as shes apparently putting on a concert for the school festival. The Star Children are helping to promote it, because they are good boys and girls.
Sue is doing a petting zoo. At this point Im getting concerned because the anime is shoving a bunch of cute scenes/imagery in my face and that leads me to believe that something horrible is just around the corner.
After momentarily forgetting about Collettes whole subplot, were back to figuring out how shes going to save her bakery from the horrors of capitalism and free market. They seem to completely skip over that whole former apprentice of Collettes grandfather stealing the recipe book thing from the game. Instead, Collette just gets right to the secret recipe part. Anime Collette refers to it as Happy Bread though (its Ultimate Breadwinner in the game), which honestly makes me even more suspect that the secret recipe is just bread laced with hallucinogenic drugs.
Oh, and in case youre curious, Collette doesnt say anything about her grandfather having Alzheimers or severe memory degradation or whatever it is in the game thats causing him to forget who she is or even who he is. She just says that hes very old and cant remember the recipe.
The Alfie scene from earlier and a Lillith/Lillie scene from earlier plays again around this time. They just change the background. From the comments these kids are making, it seems like Lillith/Lillie are planning on doing a comedy routine for the school festival? A comedy routine that involves Lillith saying Youve got to be kidding! and then hitting herself on the head to bring out Lillie, who poses Its a pointless waste of screentime. Plus, why the hell would they do a comedy routine? Just tell fortunes!
Yes, Collette is holding up bread dough thats rolled to resemble a dick.
There is a tiny hint in the next Collette scene of her I know more than I let on personality that I previously ranted about being left out, but they still have her sounding really innocent about the whole thing (shes asking Itsuki about a saying from his world, I want a piece of her, and asks him what piece of her he would want). It kind of sounds like Collette doing that thing from the game where she talks about Itsuki being lewd or perverted, but its not obvious so its possible that shes asking it out of genuine innocent naivety. Itsuki also mentions that something about her is off, but I guess well have to wait and see if she is matching up with her game counterpart or if this is just a big bait-and-switch setup to make Itsuki look like a creep.
Oh, and if you were hoping for more bread puns, then Im sorry to say that there havent been any so far. Collette has made a few regular puns, but nothing specifically involving types of bread.
Forget it, never mind! They are totally doing impish-Collette or at the very least they are going to fanservice the ever-loving shit out of her. There was a very brief scene where Mana finishes building some kind of dorm room building or something (possibly for that Horror House thing she was planning) and Tarua runs headlong into it and destroys it. This is followed up by Collette presenting that bread you see in the screenshot.
But thats not all! See how suggestive the bread is? They arent done with it. Collette proceeds to fellate the goddamn thing. Im not exaggerating that. She fucking licks the end of it and then deepthroats it. If you somehow cant take my word for it, then just track down Episode 7 online and go to roughly the 6-minute mark. I am not posting screenshots of it.
Theres more to this gag by the way, but I dont want to give it any more attention. We flip-flop between Collettes porn bread and Tarua/Mana (Mana ditches the Horror Mansion because Tarua destroyed it and does a fortune telling thing instead. Tarua asks her why her deliveries are so slow and this is where we get the Because you run too fast thing from the game).
Speaking of, Itsuki isnt even in the vicinity of this Tarua event. Shes just delivering her backstory exposition to Mana because I guess the writers locked themselves into this whole porn bread bit with Collette and Itsuki cant conceivably be in two places at once. They also cant have him ditch Collette, since they already had him do that in Episode 6.
Oh yeah, speaking of Collette, lets flip back to her again. That screenshot is from a flashback that Collette delivers about what her grandfather told her when she was a child. She looks only slightly younger than current Collette. Shes also wearing the exact same outfit. Just in case you needed further evidence that Collette most certainly is not an adult.
The porn bread bit finally leads up to another suggestive scene with Itsuki pushing a sausage into some Chikuwa that Collette is holding and they make it sound/look like sex. Apparently the legendary ultimate bread of Collettes grandfather is pigs in a blanket. Absolutely mind blowing. At least the clover thing from the game was an idea that few people would have ever thought of.
Festival time then happens. Mahiru and Yuzuha then proceed to roll up with some kind of coffin cart/pop-up food stall and set up next to Collettes stall. The two of them were asked to run the stall and sell Lunch Packs by Femirunas father because something shocking happened to her recently and shes not well enough to run the stall herself this year. Good to know that Femiruna is confirmed to be suffering from lingering trauma. Yeah, yeah. Im sure the anime would just say shes been overtaken by infatuation with Itsuki or something, but they didnt explicitly say that and so my belief remains that shes suffering from associated nightmares and anxiety from the ordeal she went through.
Moving on from that, theres more shots of Tarua running around and not being directly involved with the episode. Collettes plot also wraps up (she sells out, but Mahiru and Yuzuha still vastly outsell her because Femirunas dad keeps sending in new truckloads of stock). She realizes that she cant compete with mass production but Itsuki provides her with the realization that she doesnt have to because shes able to put her heart into each loaf of bread she makes, which is something that Lunch Packs cant do. I dont know, its some feel good bullshit that motivates Collette but doesnt change the fact that shell likely be run out of business because she cant sell enough bread to support her bakery.
Yes, they are dressed as a sausage and chikuwa. Whatever, at least it means that Collette isnt shown partially naked.
Then we get the Love Ritual between Collette and Itsuki, which I guess officially marks the end of Collettes screentime.
I I dont even know what the shit this scene is. Mahiru and Yuzuha sell out of Lunch Packs, then Femiruna and the two thugs show up. Femiruna tells them that if theyre sold out of bread, then let them have panties. User HerpicleOmnicron5 mentioned that this probably makes more sense in Japanese due to "pan" (Bread) and "pantsu" (Panties) being similar words. Granted, HerpicleOmnicron5 admits that this is still a weird scene even with that in mind.
Itsuki comes back to the festival to find that Mahiru and Yuzuha are selling panties now (there are some boxers in there as well), which is disturbing because they are all loose and of different styles/designs (why exactly are none of those underwear packaged?).
It was sort of funny to see Narc standing in line. He apparently just unknowingly wandered into the line; in case you were curious. He keeps muttering about ancient texts, so he must be lost in thought about that plot stuff.
Tarua also pops up for another split-second interaction with Itsuki. She delivers him a letter from Canada ? I think? Canada should be "カナダ", which that writing sort of resembles... if you squint... I thought it might be a mistranslation, but both the Funimation dub and a separate fan sub both say the same thing. Maybe it just looks weird because it's Mana's terrible handwriting?
And how the hell does Mana even know what Canada is?
Addendum: I immediately thought that this "Love Letter from Canada" was a reference to the trope/meme "I have a girlfriend. She lives in Canada" excuse. However, user Polsy dug around and discovered that it may be a reference to a Japanese song from 1978 called "カナダからの手紙" (Letter from Canada) by Masaaki Hirao and Yoko Hatanaka. "Love letter from Canada" is the English refrain of the song. Polsy thinks that the musical note on the letter points to this being the intended reference. I'll side with Polsy on this over my own theory, because the "Girlfriend in Canada" thing is more of a North American/European trope. Makes more sense that someone on the production team of this show would be a lover of that song as opposed to knowing about a seldom used trope of Western media.
Then Itsuki goes to a rebuilt Mansion of Horror that is now called Delivery Training and theres a montage of Itsuki delivering letters in increasingly insane ways (he skydives out of a plane at one point to dunk a letter in a mail box). Apparently Mana and Boss (Taruas master) are testing him to see if hes worthy to be with Tarua who has interacted with Itsuki for roughly 20 seconds since he arrived in this world.
And then Narcisstes is shown being totally on board with the panty packing thing after all and nobody finds that strange in the slightest. Then were back to Itsuki helping Tarua with the I lost a letter scene as well as the entirety of her bonding route in the span of a 20 second scene.
The Love Ritual happens and we get a very brief shot of the new additions to the team: a sorcerer and a ninja. Also, Itsuki seals the 9th and 10th Labyrinths (according to Mana), so hes just ripping through those without breaking a sweat I guess.
That episode was a complete mess. More so than other episodes, it felt like we were changing scenes and subplots every few seconds. Not to mention that Tarua had barely any interaction with Itsuki and then her entire character route occurred within the span of a minute.
Oh sweet Jesus Yeah, they arent even skirting around this. Episode 8 is just The Bachelor.
For some reason half of them are wearing dresses and the other half are in swimsuits. Also, we get a complete side-by-side shot of everyone here and none of the heights look even remotely close to the game. I know my height comparison was based on nothing but the character models in the game, but come on, Collette is nearly as tall as Reone here in that screenshot. Theres no way thats a legit height adaption.
Although, to be fair to the studio, its not as though we get a definitive answer in the game that the writers just ignored. I wont hold it against them.
Anyway, this Bachelor competition is similar to the show itself (I imagine. Ive never actually watched an entire episode of that show). Im not sure what the purpose of it is, though. Mana makes a point to mention that Sue and Mirei are the only two Star Maidens that havent Classmated with Itsuki yet and the next scene focuses on Sues entire character route. Its no secret that Sue and Mirei will be winning this competition. Seems like a waste of screen time to fool around with this game show thing since we know exactly how this ends.
Yes, Itsuki summons a comically long stretch limo that has all of Sues animals inside.
Sue gets her character spotlight and we get a few moments of characters like Ruka/Mahiru and Yuzuha/Collette teasing each other/hanging out as part of the "show". These scenes are intercut with cut-ins that have the characters sitting in chairs and talking to the camera about stuff thats going on ("confession cam", basically). Theyre really going all out on The Bachelor look. Im not necessarily against it, I
Fuck! TCG! Censor! For the love of god, cover as much of that as you can!
Moving on, because realistic naked woman body (with Manas head attached) covered in fruit is something that will haunt my dreams for the next few weeks. There (surprisingly) isnt much I can say about this. Its just framed as an episode of The Bachelor. Other than that moment with Mana, theres nothing particularly terrible or offensive about it. It just feels like something the writers did so that they would have something to constantly cut away to in order to sate their short attention spans.
Alfie also makes her minor guest appearance with Seiya this time, watching the Granvanian Bachelor show on TV and also seemingly acting as guest commentators (theres a picture-in-picture thing with Mana during this scene).
I dont know. Its not bad, but I just dont see the point to it. I know its supposed to be funny, or a gag, but Im just watching and going I dont care. I see things happening, but its all just static. Maybe its because they don't go all the way with the idea. We dont get any of the "plots, betrayals, alliances" or any of that drama stuff that people watch reality shows for. This is just wondow dressing for a typical episode of this anime.
Theres a thing where they have to compete in a stair climb after Mana covers them in white lotion, which is typical for this show. Only Reone, Mirei, Femiruna, Lillie, Arie, and Farun are part of it for unexplained reasons. Reone slips first and ends up taking everyone except Mirei and Arie down with her. Then Arie loses her grip and goes sliding down, which leaves Mirei as the winner of a private hot-tub date with Itsuki.
This is the only game segment that happens by the way. Another way in which they half-ass this idea.
Mireis character route is then boiled down completely to cant see well without her glasses and is intrigued by her heightened senses while she cant see well. She also gives Itsuki what is very clearly a handjob in the hot-tub, but then Itsuki tries to tease what actually happened by telling people to leave it up to their imagination.
At least we kind of get to see some of Mad Scientist Mirei. Although, like Arie, its been twisted into being a fetish thing instead of a quirk or simple hobby.
Everything culminates in a Double Love Ritual with Sue and Mirei where Mirei uses hypnosis gas to make Sue not be embarrassed. This translates into making Sue act like a cat in heat (I mean that literally, by the way. She starts saying Meow and Mana wiggles a cat toy in front of her, which she pounces on and bats at). Mirei goes stupid, and by that I mean she becomes a drooling idiot only concerned with the Love Ritual.
And Mana gets gangbanged by Sues animals because she slipped some aphrodisiac into Mirei's hypno gas and Sue's animals ended up breathing it in.
Itsuki gives Archer and Thief pats on the head and they trot off smiling and laughing. The Star Children scenes will be the only unconditional praise I ever give this series.
The ending few minutes of the episode features another brief appearance of Alfie. Also we get to see the Star Children in their little kindergarten classroom.
The mysterious roar also happens and Itsuki rushes to the castle where all of the actual story kicks back in and the Ophiuchus Labyrinth/13th Phantom is explained to everyone.
You dont have the balls, Conception: The Anime. We all know it.
They also tease the idea that the 13th Maiden could be Seiya, Shang, or Narc. Itsuki blushes and says Maybe, but then while Mana is going crazy with fantasizing we see Itsuki walking by her with a Not a fucking chance expression on his face. I think that means Mana was just imagining Itsuki being into that idea.
Lets be honest here: We know Alfie is the 13th Maiden. That wasnt even a secret in the lead up to this series (she was advertised as such). I dont believe for a second that this show has the guts to show Itsuki doing the Love Ritual with Seiya, Narc, or Shang.
But who knows? Maybe they will show something like that and treat it seriously instead of turning it into a
No, sorry. I cant even finish that statement with a straight face. I fully expect them to make this an extended ew, gay people HAHA thing. After the trash fire that was episode 6, do you honestly think they are capable of treating something like that with nuance?
Oh yeah, and the episode ends with this ominous shot of Alfie. The credits sequence is then replaced by sepia-toned footage of Alfie and the Star Children from their appearances in the episodes so far.
This fucking show All right lets get this over with. Is everyone properly braced for what could be another train wreck? We already got a hint in Episode 5 that Seiya was secretly hot for Itsuki. We also know that the show is completely incapable of approaching something like this with respect. They also dont have the comedy chops to make it funny.
Itsuki walks around looking at pretty dudes and buff sweaty dock workers, but doesnt really react. Then he sees Seiya jogging and we get some close ups of his hamstrings and biceps and theres bishi sparkles around him while Itsuki blushes a bit.
Itsuki continues to wander around places where dudes hang out, like the public baths. Hes clearly thinking it over in his head. I guess at the very least I will give the show a thumbs up for not making Itsuki act like Yusuke from Persona 4.
Seiya also keeps coincidentally turning up everywhere Itsuki goes. So I guess this is the plan that Mana came up with back during the beach episode. The 13th Maiden thing was just the excuse they needed I suppose.
Mana just starts breaking the fourth wall eventually and telling Itsuki about how they teased a boys' love thing last episode so theyve got to deliver it, that its a plot twist to stimulate and shock the viewer, and that its not a stretch for episode 9 material. Sure, I guess just do that.
I will say that so far, I do like the fact that Itsuki has just been kind of spaced out about this whole idea. Hes thinking about it and hes not sure how he feels about it. I fully expected this show to make him do the Gross, get the gayness away from me! deal.
Im just predisposed to expect the worst from this show.
For good reason. Thats Mana suggesting other ways that the 13th Maiden could be a forbidden love situation. She says that if its not boys' love, then maybe its sibling love, or stepmother love, or dominatrix love, or beastiality.
So glad I decided to do this side-series of updates. I could be grinding out RNG based quests right now. Yes, that prospect sounds far more enjoyable to me.
No, I am not misinterpreting that. Thats Sue looking at Itsuki in tears because Mana is talking about him fucking one of her horses and she thinks he might be on board with that idea (He most certainly is not, thankfully. He quickly tells Sue that hes got nothing to do with what Mana is saying).
I do like this scene a little bit. Mana points out that Narc is totally a virgin because he spends all his time reading ancient texts and being a weirdo. Mana asserts that Seiya is because, as a playboy that looks like he has lots of experience with women, he would never let girls know that he actually has no experience (he would save himself for the perfect chance). Mana sidesteps the possibility of Shang by saying Itsuki will know if he can do it when the time comes (Itsuki cant believe that Shang is a virgin).
Anyway, lets not drag this out (like the episode is doing). Were halfway into the episode and so far weve gotten nothing but scenes of Itsuki questioning whether or not hes cool with grinding up on a man. Lets cut to the chase.
Itsuki/Seiya is teased, but Itsuki bails on it before anything actually happens. Itsuki then goes to Narc, which Mana is excited about, but the two of them just talk about the 13th Labyrinth and Narc empathizes with Itsukis plight of having to shoulder the burden of the world on his shoulders. Theres no yaoi teasing going on here. Itsuki does get freaked out and bail when Narc asks him for help in deciphering an ancient text though (its basically a copy of the Kama Sutra).
Manas backstory is then randomly dumped out of nowhere.
Manas backstory somehow gives Itsuki the resolve to go through with doing the Love Ritual with another dude somehow. I think its framed as Itsuki putting the needs of the world over his personal sexual preferences. He brings in both Narc and Seiya in order to try for the Double Love Ritual.
But no, of course they dont actually go through with it. Just as Itsuki gives his big plea for Narc and Seiya to have his child for the sake of Granvania, the walls of the ritual chamber fall apart and reveal that everyone was just punking Itsuki about the whole the 13th Maiden is a man thing. Everyone was in on this and Mana laughs off the idea of the Love Ritual being possible between men.
Hilariously (in terms of poor animation), the Maidens are all in their stock/artwork poses. Its like the show couldnt afford to get the actors together for this scene and just decided to use promotional standees. It looks like someone photoshopped them into the background. Aries hair looks like its frozen in time. Not to mention, is that Ruka's hand? It's minuscule!
So yeah, everybody was trying to get Itsuki to think that he had to do the Love Ritual with men in order to teach him a lesson? No no, thats not it. Mana suggests that they did it in order for Itsuki to overcome prejudices or to make him realize that some things are more important than personal hangups or to make him more open minded or it was so that Itsuki could love the thirteenth maiden with fresh feelings?
I dont know. I really dont. They tried to make Itsuki think that he had to engage in a gay three-way against his personal preferences in order to save the world, then yelled Psyche! Dont be stupid. Somehow that will make his Love Ritual with Alfie better.
I like the concept of be more open-minded and Im glad they didnt have Itsuki act like Yusuke or Sanji or someone at the suggestion that he had to do it with a dude. But I dont feel as though they stuck the landing. It could have been worse. I was expecting worse. I think the fact that this was treated as a big prank that everyone else was in on is what ruins this. The justification that Mana gives is incredibly flimsy (You were willing to fuck a dude! That means your feelings for the 13th Maiden will be stronger than ever!). This entire episode would have been better spent focusing on Alfie and building her up.
Just before the credits, we get a slightly better delivered message that amounts to Its not about preferring men or women, its about having feelings for each other. Whether you like men or like women, theres somebody out there for you. Youre someones personal Visitor/Saviour.
And no, Alfie doesnt show up in this episode. She doesnt even get her usual guest appearance from what I recall. That was an entire episode where nothing happens and no story is advanced. It didnt even advance Itsuki as a character. Itsuki is clearly not interested in men in that way. All this episode does is get him to admit that Yeah, Ill do whatever it takes to save the world. He sort of already had that resolve. His own life is on the line as much as everyone elses is after all.
So, there you go. Episodes 7-9. Not as bad as previous episodes, but thats a low bar to clear so nobody should be applauding this show for doing it. Overall, these three episodes just felt like a lot of padding. Which is weird, because this series shouldnt be able to afford padding. Like, looking at this from the perspective of the show being a marketing tool (which it specifically is), what aspect of the game was episode 9 advertising? Seiya has roughly 3 lines in the entire game (as part of Lilliths route) and he never directly interacts with Itsuki. Theres also no Classmanting like there was in Conception II.
I dont feel like ratings are appropriate for this anymore, at least not as far as I originally intended. The animation hasnt gotten any worse or better. Theres still the problem of wonky character appearances in some scenes and an overall lack of fluidity in the animation. The longer the series goes on, the less it sticks to the game in terms of just about everything (characterizations, events, character interactions). Even the fanservice is all over the place.
As for episodes 7-9 on their own? They were boring and felt pointless at several moments (The Bachelor segment, the entirety of Episode 9), but Im okay with that. After episodes 5 and 6, being able to zone out and just let this show flow over me was relieving. Im already forgetting the details of each episode and I havent even finished the update.
That suits me just fine.