Once again I have been but a bit behind thanks to watching the final day of EVO 2012 (and there was some seriously hype matches going down, especially for KOF XIII) but I got back to watching what I wanted to get to, including Lagrange and Horizon's second seasons.
I would normally talk about one of those, but considering that deth mentioned it, I feel that I must give some of my first impressions for Joshiraku.
Concerning visuals, it's quite nice actually. The art style is very recognizable if you have seen Ano Hana, Ano Natsu, or Toradora. As one would expect, all these shows including Joshiraku share a character designer, Masayoshi Tanaka. In comparison to those shows, it's pretty obvious it's budget is nowhere near as large. It is very much the same illustrative style (one that I quite enjoy for being very easy on the eyes) but the colors have nowhere near the visual "pop" that the aforementioned shows have. Still, it's an art style that I do enjoy and the show makes due with the budget it has perfectly well concerning animation and the scenes that "need it the most."
Next up is the content proper. I suppose it's because it was made by J.C. Staff, but I was not expecting the the series to be this meta. Generally, when I think of studios that specialize in "Meta" Anime I think of SHAFT or their spawn Silver Fox (and I suppose Gainax as well, but they are meta in a much different way). J.C. Staff are not the people I would normally pin for this type of content, as they generally don't adapt series that are heavy on the meta-humor or that have a revolving door relationship with the 4th Wall. Even if the original Manga was by Kouji Kumeta of all people, this is still J.C. Staff we are talking about, and to be quite honest I didn't think they had it in them to do this type of humor. Their rather hit and miss nature made me doubt if they were capable of doing so. However those notions were thrown out the window, along with any remnants of the 4th wall this show thoroughly destroyed. I mean, the Anime opened with saying that there was no point of a dialogue heavy show like this being adapted into an Anime, as well as giving the best animated sequence of the show whist saying that the Animators will have nothing to do! It's also stated how most will be watching this for free whilst looking directly at the camera, and Joshiraku only continues it's meta analysis of itself even further. It's almost as insanely meta as Zetsubou-sensei (Zetsubou-sensei has an inherent edge being Satire as opposed to Joshiraku's more pure SoL experience). It also reminds me of Zetsubou-sensei as there is a lot of wordplay afoot, and I needed to pay close attention to the words spoken as well as replay the lines once or twice just to make sure I got everything (something I needed to do quite a bit when watching SZS). Regardless, it was a very funny experience that I will be looking forward to every week. Keep up the good work J.C. Staff, this could be one of your good ones.
*(I didn't give a character analysis as the show is still young and at this point, the characters functioned more as delivery devices for the humor. Needless to say however, none of them got on my nerves, and were all nicely endearing and very cute)*
A.) That bitch (the SWO game) would have been shut down after a week or so if it was real life, so it's very hard to believe the game lasted for a month with hundreds of people already dying with no authority intervening.
B.) Why would one only produce 10,000 copies of a game that's bound to sell a shit ton of units?
C.) How do the players eat and shit!?! Are they asleep with the head thingy on or are they in a comatose-like state?
I will answer your questions out of order, Kobun-man, if that is alright with you.
For B, he probably just wanted to make it purposely scarce so as to drive up hype for it and to make people want it even more, like a limited edition figure. Or maybe he just didn't want a very large sample size when playing god for some reason. It might be a bit of both.
Concerning C, that's complicated. It was mentioned that eating in the game only makes your body think you are not hungry, so it's just a placebo effect. I think what happened it that the Police or EMTs rounded up all of those in Sword Art Online, and put them in hospitals on life support like one would do with someone comatose, with helmet still attached. It was mentioned that the helmets have external batteries, so could be unplugged with no harm. I don't think there would be any problem having someone on life support in a hospital whilst still wearing those helmets, but getting them there would still pose a problem.
As for A, I think that's the only truly inexplicable thing. Assuming this game was sold worldwide, and that the death toll because of it has already reached 1000+, this would be an international incident of epic proportions. Probably all the moneyed nations of the world would be searching for him, and I doubt he could hide for long. However actually getting him to undo what he has done could be difficult, and they might not be willing to push too many of his buttons if they found him, as he is holding many thousands hostage.
(Needless to say however, I was not concerned about these questions at the time nor am I really now. My suspension of disbelief was already fully up from the idea of a tactile virtual reality).