Weak Seasons Make Weak Years Seem Less Weak

Surprisingly, the below pic is not the problem I’m having with this Spring’s output. In fact, when was the last time that moe overwhelmed an anime season and left us fans of “actual substance” with nothing? I guess there were quite a few 4-koma adaptations in the Summer of 2013, but as of this point, this line is way behind the times. It’s all about video-game wanking and incest now.

Sucks

I have to disagree with Bobduh – and most of my other colleagues for that matter – when it comes to saying this season is better than Winter. Hell, this season isn’t very good in general, at least in terms of genuinely new stuff, and my opinion of it has gotten even worse since I posted that list and did the podcast. People may complain about how Winter 2014 was bad for anime, but the fact that that season (discounting sequels/continuing shows/etc.) had Space Dandy, Witchcraft Works, Pupipo, Robot Girls Z, Seki-kun (which is still running), and all made it pretty damn enjoyable for me. Heck, even though I kind of lost interest in D-Frag and World Conquest (I’ll promote Bobduh’s thing on that show here just because) as they drew to a conclusion, they were still fun enough for a majority of their run.

Spring 2014? I can’t even get past the third episode of most of what I looked at from this season.

Captain-Earth

I lost patience with all the mecha shows (well, not all, but I’ll get to that later) and Shaft. Chaika started off cool, but it’s degrading pretty fast just like most LN Adaptations/Bones shows and I can’t see myself sticking with it for long. The World is Still Beautiful lost me quickly with its third episode, so I had to drop it, and I didn’t bother with No Game No Life after the first episode because I knew it’d do the same. One Week Friends isn’t bad, but its premise isn’t anything I want to sit through 11-12 episodes of. If it was a film, I could probably digest it as visual porn like I do with the Air movie. Series though? Not interested.

Ping Pong is cool visually, but I don’t really care about the story except when Kong is inserted in because of my bias against sports in fiction. I just don’t see any potential for me to become really excited about it over time. I’m still watching it of course, and if stuff like Episode 3 becomes more constant, I’ll most likely finish the show. I just doubt it’ll ever get on my top 2014 list.

I tried looking at Mahouka in terms of “trainwreck potential” because so many people on Twitter are saying it’s the next SAO or something, but the only expression it got from me was the same (-_-) face that Tatsuya wears. I don’t understand how you can watch that without getting bored two minutes in. The jargon is worse than Type-Moon’s, nothing interesting is happening plot-wise (at least Guilty Crown made something new happen each episode), all the appeal is apparently in the main character being a charismatic dude…it’s fucking Steins;Gate all over again! Bleh!

knights-of-sidonia-anime-pilot

The only two series I’m enjoying alright at the moment are Knights of Sidonia and Disk War Avengers. Now the latter I can see going to shit really quickly because kid shows often do, but the former is pretty cool so far and I can only see it getting better from here. Yeah, the CG isn’t working that well on the characters, but like Flower of Evil from last year, when it’s unusual animation style is used effectively, it’s pretty damn haunting. The only real problem I have is that none of the characters are all that compelling yet, but the actual story is still pretty good and the violence is beautiful and full of tension. Plus the latest episode went in a direction regarding the Gauna threat that was pretty awesome despite the obvious death flags. Now here’s a mecha show I can get into.

But yeah, none of the new shows are really clicking with me. I’ve made it clear that I don’t consider the new Jojo and Mushishi to be very indicative of the season’s quality for the same reasons I’m not going to consider Hunter x Hunter or Yoshiura Yasuhiro’s output this season as an indication (besides, Harmonie sucked ass). So I guess now is as good a time as ever to start fixing those top lists of mine, right?

I’ve taken a closer look at 2005’s output ever since I made that post about how it was a shitty year for anime and I still stand by that it was bad in terms of the stuff that sticks out. Not to mention, I find it strange that Koi Koi 7, Da Capo SS, Suzuka, and Hell Girl would air in the same year. However, I’ve noticed since then that there’s quite a bit of obscure stuff from 2005 that I haven’t taken a look at that grab my interest. In fact, I kind of question why they haven’t gotten more popular whilst ambitious dullfests like Eureka Seven are still remembered to this day.

Selection

Recently purchased Speed Grapher and Gun x Sword – along with The Second Raid, but I already saw it prior to purchasing – and started watching them. Really loving the former so far. It’s got a cool conspiracy angle in that Eyes Wide Shut sex cult vein, I like the monster-of-the-week format, and the main dude’s power to blow things up with his camera is pretty damn awesome. We’ll see if my opinion changes once I watch more of it. The latter is surprisingly generic for something made by the guy who did Planetes and Code Geass and is far from being a favorite of mine, but it’s still pretty good. The characters are likable, it also does monster-of-the-week well enough, and whilst the start is rough, it starts clicking a few episodes in. I particularly liked what happened at the end of the first half when everybody found who they were searching for, only to discover the downsides to the whole thing. We’ll see if the second half jumps off from that point in order to continue the story successfully.

Got to finishing Paradise Kiss, which I stalled for some reason. Although I wished it had been more comedy than drama, I surprisingly loved it. It’s basically what I wanted Ping Pong to be, as it’s also dependent on character interactions and has a cool style, but it has a story I can actually get into. If you’re a drama fan, I highly recommend it, because you’re definitely like it a lot more than I do.

I’ve owned Noein for a year now, but I haven’t actually gotten to watching it until recently. I liked what I’ve seen so far. The style is cool and the plot seems kind of interesting. Basically Shin Sekai Yori if it wasn’t an eyesore and a complete bore to watch. Not much else to say since I only saw one episode except…well…

Donnie

The anime Donnie Darko? Really AICN? I don’t see no giant rabbit haunting these kids, nor do I see them submitting to the apocalypse. Noein ain’t even close to being as good as Donnie Darko you liars.

Donnie2

Yeah, you wish you were this awesome, Noein. But you’re not.

The only other 2005 anime catching my eye at the moment are Pani Poni Dash, Futakoi Alternative, and Victorian Romance Emma. I dunno what the last one is about, but it’s got a lot of praise from people, so it’s worth a shot. I remember seeing Alternative on Crunchyroll back when it aired everything, but I was hurting from Da Capo and Suzuka at the time – and the original Futakoi for that matter – so I never bothered with it. It’s got to be better than ufotable’s Type-Moon stuff, right? Not really expecting to get into Pani Poni Dash based on what I’ve heard, plus I recently tried Natsu no Arashi and Maria Holic, and wow were they as unfunny as sin, so I’m a little hesitant on that one. Still, aside from Tsukuyomi-Moon Phase, it’s the one major Shaft show I haven’t seen, so I owe it a go.

So yeah, most of my anime-watching hobby will be spent on clearing up some backlog. After I check those shows out, I’ll probably move on to the year 2000 and improve that list too. I really need to get to fixing all of my lists in general. How can Cobra not be on any of them? What the fuck was I thinking?

16 responses to “Weak Seasons Make Weak Years Seem Less Weak

  1. But it’s good video-game wanking and incest shit! Kidding… kinda. I am very tired of the quality debate that is each new anime season.

  2. Futakoi Alternative is nothing like the original Futakoi. It’s a coming of age show in a very Gainax (old Gainax, not new Gainax or Trigger, tons of FLCL and Gunbuster homages throughout) style which does admittedly stumble horrible through its central point of drama, some weird/poorly handled fanservice at times, and a central conceit that goes from grounded to squid cults in about half an episode, but is otherwise a really solid show.

    • Just pretend I’m talking about the movie. Besides, I like to compare (relatively) great shows with awful shows in order to show that at the core, they’re not so different. It’s the details that matter in the end of course, but how far those details help is up to the individual viewer.

  3. ‘Bout time I hear more about Speed Grapher and Gun X Sword. Speed is a little weak later on but it has such an amazing conclusion. Gun X Sword was a top five for me years back but I don’t know how I’d hold up now. I’ll need to at least rewatch GXS when I eventually decide to make a serious top anime list.

    If they’re going to keep doing video game/like video game adaptions at least they could do something more fun. I can’t think of anything that’d really work at the moment though, how about you?

    • I like Gun X Sword as well. The first couple eps were weak, but I loved ep 3’s Old School vs New School. GXS is one of those shows that kept getting better and better. Also, it does tie up a bunch of seemingly inconsequential and loose plot points. I wouldn’t put it as being the best at doing either of those, but it certainly did ’em well.

      I’d actually like to hear your opinion once the show’s finished. I for one, really like the big bad of this series. But from what I read from other blogs, a lot of other bloggers seem to interpret him differently. But from the version of the show I watched, I saw him a certain way.

      • From what I’ve seen of the Claw (assuming he’s the big bad and there’s not some secret boss or something), he’s…there. Haven’t really digested him yet. Didn’t expect him to be an old timer though.

      • Well I finished the show and…I really don’t know what to say about the guy beyond the obvious. Kind of reminds me of one of those villains from the Tales RPGs in that he had good intentions, but his methods were horribly misguided. Although his “apparently calm, but actually insane” personality was done pretty well.

        As for the show itself, it’s pretty decent. Definitely grew on me after its rough start.

  4. I haven’t seen Noein, but the line “It’s the anime Donnie Darko” wouldn’t do much for me in the way of making me willing to watch it. In fact, quite the opposite.

  5. Pingback: Mild Recommendations Post » Mecha Guignol

  6. I sometimes wonder if the only reason they called Noein the anime Donnie Darko is because that was the first title that came to mind when they tried to think of a movie western audiences would recognize that had to do with parallel universes.

  7. “Basically Shinsekai Yori if it wasn’t an eyesore” WHAAAT I mean I know art style is subjective and people are free to prefer what they prefer and different strokes for different folks but seriously? You thought that Shinsekai Yori’s totally experimental yet strangely befitting style that totally makes up for lack of budget because of how large and imaginative its source material is . . . an eyesore. Unless you were referring to some other aspect I just can’t get through reading this comment without judging you ~ (I have to admit please forgive me but I just really couldn’t-) you can judge me too for saying this but i just had too!!!

    I totally agree with you on Paradise Kiss though (since I watched it recently too). Actually at the very beginning, it was hard to get into because its directional quriks came to me a bit strongly (the weird cut offs/scene changes they do and the animal cartoons in real images schtick in the beginning) but the entire thing really gets to you eventually. I also love how they animate the dresses too.