A Pre-Wake Up Girls Defense of the Much-Maligned Yamamoto Yutaka

Right now, the NBA is divided up into two 15-team conferences. One of them, the Eastern Conference, is a garbage fire which contains a total of 4 teams without a win-loss rate under .500. The other, the Western Conference, is a den of monsters run by hypercompetent GMs that contains 9 teams with a win-loss rate over .500, and, by NBA’s own power rankings, 6 of the best 8 teams in the sport. You take one look at those statistics, and it’s painfully obvious that, since winning a playoff spot requires a team to be one of the best 8 in its conference, the situations of teams that want to earn a playoff spot in those two conferences are as different as night and day. The current number 8 team in the East, Brooklyn, has a record of 14-21, or .400. There are a grand total of 3 teams in the West that can’t beat that record. But of the season ended today, Brooklyn would be a playoff team while the above-.500 Denver Nuggets would be on  the outside looking in. It’s not a particularly fair system, but it is the system.

If my straw example worked the way it was supposed to, it should seem pretty obvious that simple playoff seeding shouldn’t be the only measure of success or failure for a team. Because it’s so dependent on the team’s surroundings and circumstances that  if it is the sole measure of success or failure, some teams without any legitimate talent are going to be labelled successes due to everyone else around them making their task easier, and some teams with plenty of legitimate talent are going to be labelled failures merely because they got stuck in the basketball version of the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny at the exact wrong time.

The principle of judging something by circumstances, rather than simply by results, is a general one that extends well beyond playoff seeding. It’s even a problem that the advanced stats crowd in the NBA still struggles with to some degree. Just read Kirk Goldsberry’s take on how Monta Ellis went from being the league’s single worst shooter to an above-average shooter; the only real change that happened was Ellis switching teams to one where his teammates could actually play professional basketball and all of a sudden not being double-teamed on every play. When we judge people, their starting situation is always as important, if not more so, than the results.

But results are exactly how we judge the directors of anime. Part of this article is an uncomfortable level of #hottake that’s either going to look really stupid or really gutsy in about 3 hours. But the general sentiment is one I’d like to argue regardless, so here goes.

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Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Nagi no Asukara, Infinite Stratos 2, and Kill La Kill

Wednesday was in many ways an unusually strong opening day. Thursday, by contrast, is usually expected to be one of the heavy hitters, largely because it’s the non-weekend day with the largest number of open timeslots. noitaminA doesn’t bring its heavy guns until next week, but there’s still some [nominally] A-list fare on the block.

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First Reactions: Blast of Tempest Episode 24 (End) and Quickie Scores (9/10)

In an ending that was typical of everything the show has done prior till now, we got excessive combat, Shakespeare quotations, and plenty of toying with expectations. It’s been a heck of a ride for a show I almost quit on 4 months ago.

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First Reactions: Blast of Tempest Episode 23

This week’s episode once again showed the show’s consistent ability to cycle on all cylinders. Appropriate to the week’s wait for the details of the heroes’ grand plan, we got treated to a wham-bam reveal and a complimentary visual feast.

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Blast of Tempest: Some Thoughts on Episodes 1-19

Blast of Tempest: Some Thoughts on Episodes 1-19

Blast of Tempest started out as a very serious action/drama about saving the world from an evil clan of mages while trying to avoid letting your friend know you were dating the sister whose death he’s on a quest to avenge. It only got more deliciously complicated from there.

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