We’ve talked unfunny comedy that belongs to the dogs, I skipped over talking about “light novel” females because I couldn’t find a good angle to discuss it, and now it’s time to talk about the manly stuff. Namely, Gifuu Doudou (we need a better nickname for that) and Free. How were their intro episodes?
Um, not really that great to be honest. And no, it wasn’t just because they didn’t strike Jojo poses whilst having those awesomely muscled bodies, although that certainly didn’t help.
Let’s talk about Gifuu Doudou first (and no, I’m not doing any butt jokes because it’d be redundant at this point). It’s got the talent and spark to be a great anime given the team behind it and the premise of the thing does intrigue me. There’s just one little problem: it feels really lifeless. And it’s not just because of the visuals, although that certainly isn’t helping. The thing was trying to be like Jojo in that it tried to entertain us by embracing musclebound camp, but the thing just came off as awkward as the Jojo OVAs and as such I couldn’t summon up any energy to care about what was going on. In fact, I don’t even remember what the plot to this thing was. I’m sure it involved a lot of manliness though.
I kind of recall a guy named Maeda and another guy who looks exactly like him despite them not being related in the least…I think? I think the main purpose of the plot was focused on them meeting each other and things are going to evolve from there, but beyond that I couldn’t say much. There was very little action in this thing, I’m not exactly a Sengoku-era fan, and the characters did not leave a single impression on me whatsoever. They’re boring as hell and they all look the same too. Truthfully, if I didn’t know this thing’s history, I’d probably have dropped it already like I did with that Sunday Madhouse anime. Not exactly a great position to be in, especially when you’re supposed to stand amongst Fist of the North Star as a great tale of shonen manliness.
Yeah sorry this first impression is crap, but the fact remains that this thing failed to engage me and every time I try to rewatch the episode to refresh my memory, my energy gets drained. It definitely has it in itself to become really interesting later down the line and it’s lucky it’s the only recognizable show on Tuesday the same way Free is the only recognizable show on Wednesday, but as always with anime, when does it get better? The promise is there, but if the show doesn’t deliver on it, than it won’t matter in the slightest.
Now let’s talk about that other “manly” anime, Free. I have to be honest, whilst I was eagerly anticipating the show, I wasn’t exactly excited for the actual product itself but rather what comes out of it. Still, I underestimated how much my Twitter timeline would fucking explode at the thing, and I haven’t even gone to the forums to observe the reaction there because Twitter kind of scared me off. No matter how things unfold from here on out, I’ll always be glad for Free’s existence for the same reason I’m glad about Duke Nukem Forever’s existence. However, just like Duke Nukem Forever, there’s nothing the actual product could deliver that could possibly live up to all the hype, but I was still shocked by how much it actually did deliver. And not in a good way.
Content-wise, this show is really not delivering the goods and it doesn’t really have as much potential to improve as Gifuu Doudou does, despite its start being better than the latter in account of I actually remember what happened. For starters, it suffers from the same problems I had with Girls Und Panzer’s initial episodes: the characters are not very interesting, there is very little humor, and too much time is devoted to faffing about nothing, only being saved by an awesome soundtrack and some decent usage of animation (or in Free’s case, awesome usage of animation) and the sport it’s supposed to be about. Also, you kind of know where the story is going to go from there and you know it’s not going to get much better from there too, so the only choice is to add in humor. And whilst I’m not the biggest fan of Panzer, the director is a really talented guy on the comedic front so I trusted him to get better over time. Unfortunately, Free is directed by a newbie (edit: series-wise) and the writer for this is the guy who adapted Maou-sama. I know a lot of you guys thought that show was funny, but considering how most of you are the same guys who think Silver Link anime are funny…I’m going to stop now before I get a million angry comments.
Basically it needs more swimming, creativity, and actual laughs than what shown here to grab me; and even then, I don’t think it’s going to get more than an “okay” from me at the rate it’s going. I really want a KyoAni show that I can rank higher than a 6 on my MAL, guys. Why do they make it so hard for me to do that?
Free does have one advantage over Panzer that doesn’t require humor though. The dynamic between main character, Haruka, and shark-toothed rival, Rin, has the potential to be interesting. Because let’s face it guys, Panzer did not have any interesting character dynamics whatsoever. And KyoAni has shown to be capable of doing that kind of stuff in their previous works, most notably Hyouka. The problem is that Hyouka was an adaption with the FMP guy doing the writing whilst Free is mostly anime-original and seems to fall more in line with their meaningless slice of life stuff. And whilst I found Tamako Market okay, I’m not really a fan of meaningless KyoAni shows, especially when the humor isn’t up to snuff. And I guess it doesn’t help that this episode reminded me of the first Uncharted game in that whilst the water effects were really good, everything else was just way too safe and adequate for me.
Hopefully both shows can improve on the flat characters and develop their relationships and humor better from here, because if not, I might tune out and actually jump into the “hopelessly begging for more Jojo, despite the fact that it’ll arrive when it arrives” bandwagon.
- I might pick Sunday Without God and Attack on Titan back up if people tell me it improves from the point I dropped both of them at.
- No, I never actually seen any of the Fist of the North Star franchise.