Catching Up On My Backlog – Entry #2

Hikki

More backlog for me to go through. Now that my life has gotten busier and I’ve been trying to get into some more activities as well as planning some new projects for the blog, I can’t exactly marathon anime like I used to, but I still manage to get a sizable chunk down when I put my mind to it. Or in this list’s case I tried out a bunch of crap series and only saw a few good ones that I don’t really want to give too much attention to. Thus, I decided to just rank them all from worst to best and give them short descriptions with no pics to accompany them. Hey, I never said claimed to be a professional at this sort of thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I classified myself as more of a wild card in the past.

So let’s get on with the rankings shall we? Also, keep in mind that these are just the anime I watched that I remember and I’m not putting shorts like Aquatic Lagrange on here.

17) Kimikiss ~Rouge

Does anyone who recommends me this kind of romance story pay attention to what’s actually being said and done? Seriously, what part of this anime appeals to my taste? What exactly is in this thing that isn’t supposed to irritate me? Okay, the idea to use multiple love stories is kind of intriguing and it’s better than most VN adaptations, but that’s a really low bar. Otherwise it suffers from the same godawful characters, writing, drama, and dialogue that litters practically every other VN adaptation in existence. Just plain crap and whoever recommended it to me should look at what like in romance anime rather than what they like. Then again, everyone on the goddamn planet keeps recommending me Touch, so I guess they do pay attention after all.

16) Gunparade March

A slice-of-life romance with mecha to spice it up a bit. That might have been interesting if the SOL bits weren’t so badly written and acted. I’m not the best when it comes to picking up Japanese voice-acting, but even I could tell that the seiyuu (and the English dub for that matter) were godawful. On top of that, the character relationship is a typical wimp/tsundere one and the dialogue feels like it was ripped out of the game it was based on. Only good thing about it were the few times it actually focused on the mecha politics (which unfortunately got thrown away for more relationship shenanigans). Unfortunately, I eventually got so bored that I played Mass Effect whilst leaving the episodes on, which I think says enough.

15) Trapeze

Trapeze is painfully simplistic in substance and the wacky style became nothing but a distraction after the second episode. It kind of reminds me of Baz Luhrmann’s stuff in that they put too much effort into making something look unique whilst not enough time was put on the actual characters or stories. I have liked stuff just for the visuals, sure, but Trapeze’s style just doesn’t appeal to me. When a show “dares to be different” I expect more than just this.

14) Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Terrible series with an awesome English dub. I’ll elaborate more another time.

13) Kamisama Dolls

Typical, badly-directed, Seiji Kishi, non-comedy garbage. However, it’s flaws were pretty intriguing to watch, so I didn’t dislike it or anything. Enough vitriol has been thrown at this series anyways, so I’m not going to bother adding to it. Next one!

12) Cardcaptor Sakura

I lost interest in the show come its third arc and the simplistically bad CLAMP dialogue got to me eventually. Sad, but this thing is off my top 100. Although the opening and ending songs still rule.

11) Slow Step

I have yet to see any of Mitsuru Adachi’s big series despite knowing that they’re the kind of thing I might dig. The length kind of turns me off a bit. With that said, I thought why not try a short OVA version of his work to get me familiar with his style? It was cute, but the thing did the flipside of the problem in regards to long series in that while it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it tried to do a little too much each episode to the point of distraction. Even with the hour-long length for each episode (five), the different plot points really should have been segregated better (did we really need that many romantic rivals?) and I just finished the anime confused.

10) Patlabor Movies 1 and 2

I really don’t know why I can’t get into Mamoru Oshii’s stuff. There wasn’t anything wrong with either of the Patlabor movies, but for some reason, they didn’t click with me all that well. I don’t remember the plot or the characters’ names (although I remember what half of them look like) and both of them just dragged on to the point that I was just apathetic. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. I did like Patlabor Movie 2. But as a whole, my experience with Patlabor was underwhelming.

9) Gintama

The problem with Gintama is two-fold. One, I read the manga as a kid and still remember the jokes so I wasn’t really all that surprised at anything that happened. Two, Gintama’s comedy doesn’t really appeal to me. It’s a bunch of dry humor and fourth-wall breaking without much wit compared to the stuff I’m used to seeing in my favorites. Yeah there’s an episode I really like, but it’s usually followed up by episodes that do nothing for me (and keep in mind, this is being directed by the good Gintama director) After about 24 episodes, I realized I would never fall in love with Gintama and I should go back to Urusei Yatsura if i want to watch a long comedy series that’s more my taste.

8) Mononoke

Art style is pretty cool and I love the concepts, but the execution wasn’t selling itself to me. I honestly think Kenji Nakamura’s creative direction actually took away from the “ghost story” vibe that Mononoke was going for and that I was just watching pretty pictures moving around without much engaging atmosphere to back up the admittedly well-written stories that I kind of forgot the details of after I finished watching them (I remember the overall summary though). Decent watch, but I much prefer stuff like Natsume or Mushishi.

7) Kimagure Orange Road: I Want To Return to That Day

Miles better than the TV series because the characters don’t act irritatingly stupid and instead act like real people with romance issues. Hell, even Kasuga’s psychic powers are conveniently forgotten like they should have been from the start. I didn’t finish the series due to how irritating it was, but honestly, I don’t feel like I missed anything by skipping ahead to this movie. The only characters that show up are the ones that were introduced from Episode 1 (don’t know where that martial arts rival went and don’t care because he sucked) and whilst I missed out on how they grew, I didn’t find that necessary to enjoy this thing because origin stories are overrated as far as I’m concerned. Still far from being a favorite of mine, but a good example of that old school romance I long for.

Oh, and I did check out that second movie. It was okay I guess and I did kind of like that final shot of the three main characters, but the art style change wasn’t to my liking and the actual plot was paper-thin and unfunny.

6) Robot Carnival

Another series of shorts, except they all focus on robots. I only found the intro done by Katsuhiro Otomo and one or two others brilliant, so I can’t say this dethrones Genius Party as my favorite anthology anime. Not that the others weren’t decent per say, although the fact that I can’t remember them after they finished says a lot. Still, I do remember liking how most of them were silent and they just let the atmosphere and music do the talking, which is something that more anime should do. At the same time though, I wish one of these anthology anime would match up to Fantasia’s level of brilliance.

5) One Outs

I honestly haven’t watched much sports anime before this one. Well, I did watch stuff like Hikaru no Go and Kaiji, but I’m referring to stuff that involves balls (get your mind out of the gutter). The only one I’ve seen prior to One Outs is (urgh) Prince of Tennis, so you can probably understand why it took me so long to try one of these. Anyways, I think One Outs was created by the same team that did Kaiji, because good god was the pacing slow. At the same time though, the attention to detail was done in a way that entertained me enough and the main character was badass. Story though…yeah there wasn’t much to keep me entertained for 25 episodes. I like simplistic stories and all, but only when they’re short, because they have a tendency to lose their appeal fast. Oh well, it was still a good anime.

4) Berserk

More than halfway through this one and so far, it’s just typical dark fantasy. But it’s well-executed typical dark fantasy with a great dynamic between Guts and Griffith and pacing that is near impeccable. It’s not top 50 material by any stretch unless the series surprises me more down the road, but it’s an enjoyable watch. I heard it has a weird-ass ending, but we’ll see.

3) Umineko no Naku no Koro Ni

Almost feel dirty for ranking this so high, but yes I really like Umineko. It makes no sense and the animation and art direction is shit because Chiaki Kon isn’t a very good director, but that gives the anime a bit of a pulpy feel to it. I love the mind games between Battler and Beatrice as well as the amount of crazy shit this anime throws at you like crushing Maria with a giant cake or goat soldiers. That last arc was pretty bad (though it had some good points like Ange getting abused by a bunch of men), so I can’t exactly rank Umineko as one of my favorites, but the first three arcs are absolute perfection.

2) Dororon Meeramera Enma-kun

One of the greatest comedies to come out in recent time. Seriously, aside from the first season of Azazel-san, nothing I watched in recent memory comes close to the sheer comedic genius of this Go Nagai remake. It starts off kind of crap, don’t get me wrong, but starting with the third episode, it gets really crazy and creative with its fanservice jokes and characters. It also has one of the best endings to an anime I’ve ever seen in recent years. I won’t expand too much on it here, but let’s just say a massive orgy is involved. Yeah, the fact that you can’t exactly skip the first two episodes means this thing is kind of hard to recommend, but trust me when I say that it does get better soon.

1) Welcome to the NHK

Given all the hype behind this anime, I’m glad to see that it did not disappoint. I’m also glad I didn’t see this whilst I was unemployed (unlike Maison Ikkoku, which still hits me hard to this day) because damn it would have been painful to get reminded that I had no future if I didn’t shape up back then. Although Sato gets a cute girl whilst I’m still drinking orange juice with nothing but my stuffed Pikachu to keep me company, so…yeah fuck him. Anyways, Welcome to the NHK is what I meant when I said I wanted SNAFU to be actually insightful about its social issues. Sure they’re overexaggerated and downplayed at times, but the problems are treated seriously with no real wish-fulfillment involved and strong characters to boot. My only regret is waiting so long to see this. Although seriously, what was up with the animation in Episode 19?

6 responses to “Catching Up On My Backlog – Entry #2

  1. Welcome to the NHK was a real surprise for me, I was expecting something like Genshiken when in reality it’s more like the anti-Genshiken if anything. Still haven’t finished Genshiken yet, but it seemed like more of a celebration of otaku culture, rather than what NHK set out for. But yeah it does have the QUALITY issue that plague many of Gonzo’s stuff (Hellsing, Samurai 7, Bokurano all got pretty damn ugly, and while I’m at it Gantz had sucky CGI) it also happened in episode 4 as well. Jarring stuff.

    Berserk is pretty much flawless for me asides from the shit animation and an ending that peeved me more than anything. It’s not that it goes downhill during the final episodes (quite the opposite really), it just kinda…..um, you’ll see.

  2. Most of the ball sports anime I’ve seen are rather shoneny, like Inazuma Eleven or Eyeshield 21 (still liked it though, the manga). Slam Dunk was my fave, but I watched it before awful pacing grated on me. God damn, I need to see Cross Game.

  3. Berserk had flawless characterization, Griffith easily pwns anyone regarding badassery, presence and character development. Guts too, but at the manga version. And the engrossing, fast paced story only makes this epicer.
    Pacing is pretty much flawless, ending aside.

    The best fantasy anime up to date. Top 5 material by all means.

    • Thing is, I’m not big into Berserk for the same reason why I’m not into Gurren Lagann: it’s well-executed but the meat is pretty typical. Now Berserk is better than Lagann in that it actually does have some good surprises and all, but it’s nothing that sets me on fire.