Shelf Life
My Girlfriend is Shobitch

by Paul Jensen, Gabriella Ekens,

Collecting things can be a strange process, especially when you look at it from an outsider's perspective. I recently tried to explain to someone why, when faced with a choice between two video games, I bought the one that cost more and had worse reviews. I'm not sure my logic was very convincing, but it makes perfect sense in my head, and that's what really matters. Welcome to Shelf Life.

Jump to this week's review:
My Girlfriend is Shobitch

On Shelves This Week

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card - Part 1 BD
Funimation - 275 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $64.98
Currently cheapest at: $45.69 Amazon

Synopsis: When all of her Clow Cards suddenly turn blank, Sakura is forced to take on the role of Cardcaptor once again.

Extra: We have episode reviews for this sequel series, and you can stream it on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.

Deadman Wonderland - Complete Collection BD
Funimation - 325 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $49.98
Currently cheapest at: $36.06 Amazon

Synopsis: A young man named Ganta is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to a prison where inmates are forced to fight one another to the death.

Extra: You'll find reviews of older releases of this series here and here, and we also have an interview with the original creators. It's available streaming on Funimation.

FLCL - Complete Collection BD
Funimation - 150 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $49.98
Currently cheapest at: $31.65 Amazon

Synopsis: A middle school student Naota has his world turned upside-down when a mysterious girl on a scooter comes crashing into his life.

Extra: We have old and new reviews for this series, and it's also mentioned in this interview. You can stream it on Funimation and Hulu.

Free! - Season 1 BD
Funimation - 300 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $29.98
Currently cheapest at: $22.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: Best friends Haruka, Makoto, and Nagisa must form a new swimming club at their high school in order to challenge their former teammate, Rin.

Extra: We have reviews of both the old DVD release and the newer Blu-Ray version of this season. It's available streaming on Crunchyroll.

Free! - Season 2 BD
Funimation - 350 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $29.98
Currently cheapest at: $22.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: The boys of the Iwatobi Swim Club return for another season of competition, but Haruka is beginning to have doubts about his future.

Extra: You'll find reviews for this season here, here, and here, and we also have a feature article covering both seasons. You can stream this season on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Lu Over the Wall BD+DVD, DVD
Shout Factory - 112 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $26.99|$16.97
Currently cheapest at: $17.05 Amazon|$13.13 Amazon

Synopsis: City boy Kai reluctantly joins a band after moving out to a rural town, but the group's practice sessions are interrupted by the arrival of a mermaid named Lu.

Extra: We have a review of this film, along with an interview with the English dub crew.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms BD+DVD, DVD
Shout Factory - 115 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $26.99|$16.97
Currently cheapest at: $17.96 Amazon|$13.13 Amazon

Synopsis: An immortal girl named Maquia adopts a baby boy named Ariel while fleeing the invasion of her homeland, but their relationship begins to change as Ariel grows up while Maquia stays the same.

Extra: You'll find a review of this film here, and we also have an interview with the director.

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
Sunrise - 80 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $34.99
Currently cheapest at: $21.16 Amazon

Synopsis: Mobile suit pilots from Zeon, the Earth Federation, and the South Seas Alliance are pulled into a conflict on Earth.

Extra: This movie is a sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky, and we have a review of that film.

Re:ZERO Starting Life in Another World - Season 1 Part 2 BD+DVD
Funimation - 325 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $64.98
Currently cheapest at: $42.99 Amazon

Synopsis: Subaru continues to use his ability to reset time in order to protect the people he cares about, but the cycle of death and rebirth begins to affect his mind.

Extra: We have episode reviews and a couple of feature articles for this series, and it's available streaming on Crunchyroll.

Samurai 7 - Complete Collection BD
Funimation - 650 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $49.98
Currently cheapest at: $37.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: An eclectic group of samurai are hired to protect a village from marauding bandits in the aftermath of a bloody war.

Extra: You'll find reviews for this series here and here, and you can stream it on Funimation and Hulu.

Samurai Champloo - Complete Collection BD
Funimation - 650 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $49.98
Currently cheapest at: $31.65 Amazon

Synopsis: After a waitress saves two wandering warriors from execution, they agree to help her find a samurai who smells like sunflowers.

Extra: We have old DVD reviews for this series here, here, and here, and a more recent Blu-Ray review here. It's available streaming on Funimation and Hulu.

Space Runaway Ideon - Complete Collection BD
Maiden Japan - 1158 min - Sub - MSRP $69.98
Currently cheapest at: $45.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: Earth scientists discover a group of mysterious vehicles on an alien world, but this discovery pits them against a civilization that seeks the energy contained within the devices.

Extra: We don't have any formal reviews of this series at the moment, but expect to see a Shelf Life review of this set in the next couple of weeks. It's available streaming on HIDIVE.

Steins;Gate - Complete Collection BD
Funimation - 600 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $49.98
Currently cheapest at: $37.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: Rogue scientist Rintaro Okabe and his friends are swept up in a sinister conspiracy after their time travel experiments yield some unexpected results.

Extra: We have all kinds of reviews, interviews, and articles for this series, and you can stream it on Funimation and Hulu.

Shelf Life Reviews

This week, Gabriella ventures into the world of fanservice comedy with My Girlfriend is Shobitch. Here's her take on the series.

It's time for yet another installment in the “recent but already forgotten smut” series of Shelf Life reviews. Today's subject is My Girlfriend is Shobitch, a rather rudely named show that mostly seems to be about listening to Aoi Yuuki say innuendos. Apparently, the word “shobitch” in the title amounts to something like “virgin slut” in Japanese, which tells you most of what you need to know about the premise – a kid named Haruka gets his first girlfriend, Akiha, who keeps bringing the conversation around to sexual topics that she clearly doesn't understand. Sexual ignorance is both the joke and the fetish here, and while the show isn't as creepy about this as it could've been, Shobitch's value to you will begin and end with this one gag.

Okay, so I've reviewed a lot of crap during my years on this column, but I'm not sure I've reviewed anything this devoid of content before. The entire show consists of teens reciting the lamest possible innuendos and occasionally sexually harassing one another. That's it. There's no story or conflict other than the two leads growing closer as a couple (maybe). And even then it's hardly a character piece. Akiho's personality begins and ends with her confused vulgarity, while lead Haruka exists to be surprised by girls shoving his face into their boobs or something. The only credit I can give Shobitch is that Haruka doesn't take advantage of his girlfriend's erotic overreaching. Otherwise the cast consists of little sister who's in love with him, childhood friend who's in love with him, scary lesbian who won't stop touching the other girls' boobs without permission, etc.

So this brings us to the only thing that the show has going for it: its attempt at humor. Now, I love me some vulgarity. In most settings, the F-word is never far from my lips, and my editors have to remove several swears from my reviews on the regular. The problem here is that the show's entire comedic repertoire consists of stuff like “some objects look like penises,” “some substances look like semen,” and “sure looks naughty when those things touch a girl's face.” You know, stuff that's been played out ever since the first caveman to spew milk out his nose. The show's key image – appearing on the logo as well as in graphic elements throughout – is a peeled banana. I feel that this kind of tells you all you need to know about the show's creative capacities. It's like the show just wants you to remember that genitals even exist and laugh.

I might be angry if it weren't all so tired. I've been going back and forth over whether it's to the show's detriment or not that it has absolutely no plot. This makes it so there's less to talk about, which hurts the review, but it also means that there's less opportunity for something extremely stupid to happen. On the actively reprehensible side of things, a good chunk of the “jokes” consist of the girls accusing Haruka of being a pedophile. Overall, the entire show probably peaked with the episode that goes to the zoo to look at animal dongs – not because the episode was any good, but because it was the only episode to even begin approaching the sort of absurdity required to make this type of comedy memorable.

Anyway, the production for Shobitch is entirely stiff and lifeless. This does as much to kill the humor as the bad writing, since interesting presentation can provide even the stalest jokes with a spark of life. There's almost no animation, but the drawings of the anime girls in compromised positions are competent enough, I guess. In terms of audio, the dub is fine, just a bunch of voice actors hamming their way through smut. If you're into that, there's even a commentary track where the VAs tell vaguely in-character jokes over the first episode.

Since there isn't that much to talk about in Shobitch itself, I'll just list some shows that accomplish what it's trying to do better. The first on the list is Please Tell Me! Galko-chan, a sincerely hilarious depiction of what it's like to be a sexually clueless teenager, and I've found that it's also accurate to the experience of female adolescence as a whole. Also, unlike Shobitch, it's a short, so the plotlessness never outweighs its welcome. Leaning on Shobitch's romantic elements, I can also recommend Tsuredure Children for its rapid-fire depictions of young love, frequently centered around some pretty good gags. As a comedy based on sheer vulgarity, Shimoneta has some high points, while Yamada's First Time is a lot more dynamic. As for pure smut, I don't know, go watch something with actual nipples in it? For the record, they only show Akiho topless once, during the OVA episode when they're trapped in the porn premise “you can't leave until you bang” room. Once again, the whole thing is way too visually stiff to be sexy or funny.

In the end, My Girlfriend is Shobitch may work for somebody out there, but sho' as hell not for this bitch.

That wraps up the review section for this week. Thanks for reading!

This week's shelves are from Errinundra:

"My name is Will, but you may recognise me as Errinundra. I've just about  filled up my set of shelves dedicated to anime, so I thought I'd send  you some pics. I've been collecting since about 2008. One thing ANN  readers may note as odd is the logos for Madman, Siren Visual, Hanabee,  Universal and even Umbrella - all distributors here in Australia. When I  couldn't get titles locally I've imported them from the US, Japan and UK.

Pride of the collection would be between the Siren Visual box set of  Monster, the Time of Eve coffee set, the figurine of Mireille Bouquet  from Noir and that amazing silk screen image of Evangelion my nephew  brought back from Japan for me."

Looks like your shelves and mine have a few figures in common, though my Mireille was damaged in a tragic dusting accident a few years ago. Always great to hear from our international readers, thanks for sharing!

No matter where you are in the world, this is the place to show off your anime collection! Just send your photos to [email protected]!

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