I know my taste is different from most anime fans, bloggers, and aliens who watch anime through shitty TV wave reception outside the planet’s atmosphere, but whilst most of them are declaring Winter 2015 to be the best of the year, I’ve only liked two shows from this season so far and I just think they’re okay at best. That’s not to say I dislike most of this season, barring shitty LN adaptations, Kancolle, and the very show I’m going to be looking at in this post. But it’s the whole noitamina situation again when you get down to it. A lot of people are praising how different so many things are from the pack and all I have to say is “just because LN adaptations have set the bar so low doesn’t mean you should crown mediocrity”.
Which leads me to Yatterman Night, which I originally had pencilled in as my Sunday show because whilst I didn’t worship the first episode like most people because I’m not impressed by tragic stories unless you’re telling me something interesting with ’em ala Grave of the Fireflies, it wasn’t awful and the idea had promise. Unfortunately, I could tell that the show just wanted to be “fun” underneath its harsh presentation and whilst I support being fun first, I do not support being “fun” only and it doesn’t help that what anime considers “fun” isn’t what I consider fun.
That said, I don’t think the latest episode delivered in being “fun” to begin with. So much for trying to take the new Yatterman in a different direction, huh? It actually wants to have the same silliness as the original series whilst trying to be (generically) touching and heartfelt at the same time to the point of deal-breaking tonal inconsistency. I mean did the show really mix its serious side and its comedic side so badly to the point that it made Angel Beats look like Haibane Renmei?
Seriously, a forehead-flicking machine? You’re punishing the people who killed your mother with a finger-flicking machine whilst spouting out cheesy villain lines? Imagine if Portal’s dark humor was replaced by gags I’d expect from a Saturday morning cartoon, and suddenly you get into my main crux with the show. I guess you could make the argument that the girl is hurting deep inside underneath her bravado the same way Portal’s dark humor was to represent Gladys’ increasing desperation, but given that you have a scene where the characters think they “punished” the Yatterman and still acted like comic relief characters before instantly turning into drama queens after their robot explodes, and then act like comic relief again when they’re getting chased by lasers, I can’t buy into that.
On top of that, neither side stands up well on its own. In addition to the fact that the comedy is way too safe and dated to be funny, the dramatic side is simplistic and dull. I’ve made it clear that I haven’t enjoyed an anime “about” family since Wolf Children, which wasn’t exactly Tokyo Story-levels of quality, and the reason for that is because they’re all about the same f*cking thing: family is important and will always be by your side. Sorry Sherlock, but that point is too obvious a goal to be intriguing. You know what made Wolf Children good (well, more like okay) though? That it was about how even though family is important, parents can’t help their children forever and they need to grow up on their own over time, but the time spent until then was not a waste nevertheless. Yatterman Night had potential to be okay by showing how family can create villains, but the show’s problem is that it’s not being creative enough with it, relying too much on “emotions without logic”. There’s a reason the first ten minutes of Up are amazing whilst the rest of it…isn’t, y’know.
– Don’t even get me started on the girl in that rundown village in the end of the second episode who mistakes the main girl for her angel, which seems to be a setup for proving how the Yatterman are not the heroes we assume them to be. Yawn. Don’t care.
Look, I didn’t like Gatchaman Crowds. I LOVED the new Lupin series. Nevertheless, regardless of my feelings, both series had a consistent tone, a message to convey based on knowledge of their previous franchises that was more than just “fun”, and they didn’t have their main characters be an elementary school girl who shows off too much skin for my taste. They were more than just “gimmicks”. I’m not going to bother fully explaining why, but I can say with utmost confidence that Yatterman Night is nothing more than a gimmicky revival that doesn’t even want to fully commit to being “fun”, let alone something with substance. You may complain that it’s just the second episode and I shouldn’t be saying all of this so early into the show, but most anime (for better or worse) don’t change their fundamentals that far in. Sure the story might get better, but it’s very doubtful the tone, the comedy, or the plot will follow suit, and I don’t enjoy “stories” on their own unless they make me laugh.
Like I said, there exists a miniscule chance that this article will end up being proven wrong and Yatterman actually stops half-assing it for the remainder of its runtime, let alone next week. Anything is possible. But we have to draw the line somewhere, and I’m sorry to say that the most recent episode has caused this show to lose me completely.
PS: If you like family dramas, please check out Tokyo Story. It rightfully deserves its place as a classic if you can handle the director’s slow-pacing and unmoving camera style.