Pick A Drama Anime For Me To Go All Dramatic On

It’s Friday the 13th (again) and what better way to celebrate this misfortunate of days than by letting my readers pick the next anime for me to look at next week? Even better, I’ve limited myself to one of the genres I’ve always been a real cruel bastard towards…which is every genre in anime really, but drama in particular is something me and everyone else have always been a cruel bastard towards, so we can relate on some level in regards to whatever you choose to subject me towards next week. So I drudged up a bunch of DVDs/Blurays belonging to said category that I own for some reason or another, and after going through my descriptions, you can use the poll below to choose what I’ll watch/review.

But first, let’s look at the choices, shall we?

I wrote a very positive post on this film sometime ago, but it kinda faded from my mind over time and I’ve yet to give it a proper rewatch despite paying full price for it as soon as it got released (well, I tried with the English dub, but it didn’t have much spark to it and I stopped the movie halfway through). There’s little doubt that I’ll still like the movie, but whether it surpasses 5 cm or Voices of a Distant Star in terms of favorite Makoto Shinkai works in my mind…eh it probably won’t. But maybe it can reclaim a spot on my favorites? Hey, anything is possible.

Don’t ask me why I spent forty bucks for a physical copy of Angel Beats. I mean I don’t dislike the show, but whether or not I actually like it…well it’s been years so I dunno. I do remember it being the best of the “VN writer going into anime original” bunch because it wasn’t teeth-grindingly unfunny like Humanity Has Declined nor as obnoxiously self-indulgent as Zvezda ended up being, and above all, it wasn’t boring. Plus, Jun Maeda’s new successor to this show will be airing in a few seasons, so maybe I should refresh my memory on what makes him who he is before I delve into it.

This is one of those movies that I loved solely for the animation style at the time because, well, it’s Ghibli. I know the plot wasn’t very good, but the atmosphere was so breathtaking and the way everything ended was practically perfect in terms of emotional content that I couldn’t help but enjoy. Of course, nowadays I’m more story-focused so whilst I’m sure I’ll still enjoy said atmosphere, the lack of a compelling plot might be a bit too much for me. We’ll see. Probably.

I was heavily disappointed in the much acclaimed Millennium Actress when I bought it blindly in college. The story was told decently, but the actual substance put me to sleep. I’ve read reviews that explained why the substance being executed was great, but it still never really got me into the film as a whole. Simple stories with simple morals just don’t excite me at all. I’ll take The Fountain any day. But maybe that opinion will change with a rewatch?

Tokyo Godfathers is one of those movies I used to adore and watch every Christmas upon owning the DVD, but nowadays I just don’t think much of it. The actual story is a little too “Christmas miracle-y” by my current standards if you catch my drift and there’s really nothing that compelling about the narrative other than the execution, which isn’t enough to make me love something unless what you’re executing involves exploitation or is really funny – something Tokyo Godfathers really lacks. Well okay, it’s decently funny from what I remember. But it never made me bust a gut or anything.

My camera obviously has a grudge against Mizusu because it kept blurring out whenever I tried to take a picture of this DVD box. But anyways, the movie version of Air, guys. Air itself is pretty forgotten in terms of Key’s output in general, and the movie version even moreso. I did write a post on it back when I did those quick reviews, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really say anything now. Anyways, I’m not sure how I’d feel about it these days, but even the Key haters who know this movie exists admit that it’s pretty decent, and whilst the story is pretty simple, it was a lot more compelling than Millennium Actress’s considering it actually shares similarities with The Fountain substance-wise rather than style-wise. Although Vic Mignonga voices the main dude in the dub, and I can’t listen to it without thinking he’s going to hit on a little girl…oh wait.

Man, why’d my Kickstarted copy of this anime have to arrive long after I since stopped caring about Time of Eve and the director in general? Yeah, I don’t like Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s stuff very much. Harmonie is decent enough now that I’ve understood what it’s really supposed to be about, but Patema Inverted was terrible and Pale Cocoon depends way too much on that twist ending to be engaging. My problem with the dude is that his stories are always framed in that indie-movie style, and I tend to despise the indie genre because they’re always “human stories” that think they’re saying something new when in reality they’re saying the same f*cking thing all over again except artsy. Second, his works aren’t really all that thought-provoking when you compare it to what’s been asked by the sci-fi genre before, and I seem to recall Time of Eve being in the same vein as his usual output. I loved it solely for the visual style at first watch, but that can’t carry me on its own now. But maybe there’s more to this thing than “robots can be sentient too”? Seriously guys, Short Circuit did that more than two decades ago and Wall-E did it really well during the same year.

One of the rules I set for myself when coming up with this selection of choices is that I wouldn’t include any of my favorites, so I deliberately avoided letting you guys choose Sakamichi no Apollon and shit. However, just to spice things up, I decided to throw in one favorite that I haven’t gotten to rewatching: Aku no Hana. I really liked blogging about the show at the time, but I never really got to doing a full review of it. Well, here’s your chance to make me do one. I remember what happened. Now let’s see if I can still call this a favorite after experiencing said happenings a second time.

– For the record, I never included anything I actually “hated” on here because I don’t own any drama anime I hate. Maybe Kanon, but I sold my DVDs before I ever got to rewatching it, thus preventing me from ever really having an opinion on that show for the rest of my life. No, you can’t make me watch Internet files of it.

I forgot about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time when I initially gathered the anime I wanted you guys to choose from, which is why it’s not in the initial picture. Makes sense since it’s been f*cking forever since I last watched this movie. I remember the plot, naturally. I remember liking the film, particularly the ending song, but not being too keen on how there wasn’t anything I particularly loved. I remember the time travel implementation being more Groundhog Day than the time travel stuff I’m not big into like Edge of Tomorrow or Madoka Magica, and that’s always a good thing.

Welp, that’s all the descriptions. Here’s the poll. (edit: poll is closed. Angel Beats won).

 

PS: I’ll be doing Tiger and Bunny: The Rising the week after.

26 responses to “Pick A Drama Anime For Me To Go All Dramatic On

  1. Great movies, most of them. How about close your eyes and just pick randomly? I don’t mind doing that with this kind of selection.

    P.S.: Friday the 13th is my lucky day.

  2. I must have a thing for “robots with a human soul” since both Short Circuit and Wall-E are high on my favorites list.

    Anyways, I voted for Arrietty, Angels Beats, and Flowers of Evil.

  3. I’ve heard of most of the movies on your list (and a nice selection at that) but I never got around to watching them. So I just went with the three on that list I did see (2,3 and 7).

  4. I put in a vote for millenium actress, from my own experience, becaue at the time I first watched it, it was a Kon film that I felt unfavourably compared to his other works as they were still fresh in my mind when I first watched millenium actress.
    Looking back over the film with Kon’s other works less fresh in my head it stands out more for me and I see it as a more enjoyable film and typically when I don’t like something the first time round I like it more the second time even if I find flaws in it.
    I’d almost feel genuinely cruel making you rewatch angel beats, to me that was a generally pretty all over the place show.

    • Looking back over the film with Kon’s other works less fresh in my head it stands out more for me and I see it as a more enjoyable film and typically when I don’t like something the first time round I like it more the second time even if I find flaws in it.

      My problem with movie from what I remember comes from how I couldn’t find the main female relatable. Why was she chasing this dude over her entire career and why should I care?

      I’d almost feel genuinely cruel making you rewatch angel beats, to me that was a generally pretty all over the place show.

      Compared to what I’m watching now, Angel Beats is the Haibane Renmei it wanted to be.

  5. Although flawfinder, I find it a bit unusual that you refer to misuzu’s age as “a little girl” might have remembered it wrong but isn’t she 17/18? And the lead male character in his early 20s or late teens? Still, I did think the Air film was a step above the series, better sense of pace and focus, far more condensed.

  6. I picked Time of EVE. Yeah the themes have been done before,butit was done well.Had a lot of nice quiet moments which I loved. I did find it funny how you talk about how it’s been done before,but recently praised Chappie which had similar themes,and being a less violent version of Short Circuit 2.

    • but recently praised Chappie which had similar themes

      Actually, it could be argued that Chappie pokes fun at the “pacifistic robot” tropes that make up stuff like Short Circuit or The Iron Giant, along with saying how messing with artificial life will only lead to disaster in the end. But this comment section isn’t big enough for that and I couldn’t address it fully in my vlog because I was doing it on the fly.

  7. Somehow, back in the day I could never get into girl who leapt through time, the story was there yes but I heard far too much people exaggerating the emotional end of it and that it had them tearing up/crying, maybe I’m just cold but I’ve avoided rewatching the film because that lack of expected/hyped up emotional involvement I got out of it really let me down.

    • Emotional investment like that ain’t a problem with me. Sure, I can get emotional at times (the first ten minutes of Up for starters), but that’s not really why I watch fiction at the end of the day.

  8. “I do remember it being the best of the “VN writer going into anime original” bunch because it wasn’t teeth-grindingly unfunny like Humanity Has Declined nor as obnoxiously self-indulgent as Zvezda ended up being, and above all, it wasn’t boring.”

    LOOOOOL.

    I voted Angel Beats just to see you eat back this statement and to wallow in your tears. Honestly? Knowing your current tastes, I really can’t fathom how you wouldn’t consider Angel Beats to be utter shit. I suspect your memory is playing you one of those weird “rose-tinted glasses” jokes here. Honestly, I’m a less picky watcher than you, and both Humanity and Zvezda were MILES ahead Angel Beats for me – since neither tries so hard at being a cry-worthy drama while simultaneously completely disregarding sense, logic, or anything interesting happening really. Seriously, Angel Beats is the anime that ends with a full episode of nothing but a graduation ceremony. Angel Beats is the anime where even the afterlife is a Japanese High School™. Fuck Angel Beats.

    • Wasn’t Angel Beats’ story about how the characters’ rebellion against God was ultimately meaningless and only when they accepted that, they could move on? Sounds like a decent story to me. The way it was told on the other hand…

      since neither tries so hard at being a cry-worthy drama while simultaneously completely disregarding sense, logic, or anything interesting happening really

      Just because Key tries to wring tears out of its viewers doesn’t automatically invalidate every other reading you can make out of their stuff. And I disagree with the “nothing interesting happening” part because as I said, that’s the point of the show. There is no real “visible” God to fight against and all your actions against him are meaningless at the end of the day.

      Seriously, Angel Beats is the anime that ends with a full episode of nothing but a graduation ceremony. Angel Beats is the anime where even the afterlife is a Japanese High School

      For all of Angel Beats’ faults, these are very miniscule because they don’t really affect the story at all.

      Humanity and Zvezda were MILES ahead Angel Beats for me

      Those two shows were utter shit with terrible comedy, no compelling story, and nothing interesting happening in the least. Especially with Zvezda and its creepy inward-looking anime garbage. F*ck those shows!

      • Well, if one wants to draw meaning out of stuff, one can do so for those other shows as well… check out Bobduh’s crush on Zvezda and its use of masks for example (I merely found it kinda funny). And I guess your interpretation of AB makes sense, it’s just that… meh. Sorry, if it’s one thing I’m not able to look past, is emotional manipulation. And Angel Beats was emotionally manipulative as fuck.

    • check out Bobduh’s crush on Zvezda and its use of masks for example

      The problem with Bobduh’s interpretation is that A) the show doesn’t focus on that aspect of masks as often as he claims B) the idea that humans use masks to hide themselves from others is nothing new and has been explored in much deeper detail in previous fictional works. Hell, the Persona series aren’t exactly grade-A with that theme themselves, and I generally like those games. It’s the same problem I have with Yuri Kuma Arashi. Yeah, it’s teaching me the rules of yuri and how forbidden it can be, but what is it actually saying about yuri?

      Bobduh (and many of my other colleagues) put more emphasis on the “how” rather than the “what”. I think both are important, but I prefer looking at the “what” first.

      Sorry, if it’s one thing I’m not able to look past, is emotional manipulation. And Angel Beats was emotionally manipulative as fuck.

      You don’t have to tolerate emotional manipulation and I’ve already stated I have my own problems with the way Angel Beats told its story, but I personally never let my biases cloud my understanding of what really goes on (that I can see). Sure I can’t stand Full Metal Jacket because the soldier jargon pisses me off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get it.

    • I should also point out that I’m fully aware of Humanity’s intents, but I really hated how it never dealt any final blows to any of the issues it brought up. I sit through two episodes of Y discovering the world of manga, only for the ultimate takeaway to be “making manga is hard”? Yawwwwwwnnn. What kind of lame-ass blow is that?

      • Uhm, I read that more just as a mockery of the industry – in one episode of the fandom, the next of the creators. I don’t think it was supposed to have a “point”, it was just creating a context for its satire. Which may have not been the sharpest ever, but it was funny in its own right (especially if you read the kind of mainstream manga they were taking the piss off. Bleach comes to mind).

        Either way, I understand why you might find Humanity too “tame”, never really being sharp in its satire/criticism. I simply don’t think the series WANTED to do that either, but it’s understandable that you might not like it for it.

        About Angel Beats, I think “what” and “how” are very deeply linked. Also because, when the “how” is “piss poor written”, the “what” necessarily becomes doubtful – even if I catch some apparently deep meaning, is that the authors’ intent or am I just seeing my own thoughts reflected in the show, like a Rorschach test? Incompetence/cheapness in the “how” for me invalidate enjoyment of the “what” as well.

      • but it was funny in its own right (especially if you read the kind of mainstream manga they were taking the piss off. Bleach comes to mind).

        The thing is, those kinds of insults have been around for a while. Hell, I’ve made some of them before I moved from manga to anime over ten years ago. If you’re going to try and comment on otaku habits, you can’t just rip out every complaint you see in an anime forum and stick it in your show. You’ve got to be like Genshiken and actually do something creative with those complaints.

        I think “what” and “how” are very deeply linked.

        They are, but I think people forget that link exists and just think they’re synonyms of each other.

        even if I catch some apparently deep meaning, is that the authors’ intent or am I just seeing my own thoughts reflected in the show, like a Rorschach test?

        I don’t care what the author’s intent is. Like I said, yes Maeda sets out to make his fans cry. But that does “not” mean that’s the only thing you can take from him. Because honestly, how many times have we tried to create something, only to end up with a totally different result? And what drama isn’t manipulative at the end of the day? Not to mention, they’re called opinions because different people have different reactions to them.

  9. Aku no Hana? I kinda like the execution of the show, but if I were to nitpick they spend too much time with walking than they are acting.

    Also, the manga’s ending was shit.

    For now, go for the Satoshi Kon stuff. 😛

  10. I can’t remember anything about Angel Beats other than that I hated how the ending expects you to cry while at the same time introducing something that is either a giant plot hole or requires you to do some serious mental gymnastics to figure out an explanation for. It’s fucking distracting.

    I voted for Flowers of Evil, since I want to see how that holds up for someone on a rewatch. I like that show but I don’t think I’d ever want to revisit it.

    • Unfortunately for you, the results were due in the weekend (just closed the poll, although the winner is still the same as it was in the weekend) and Angel Beats won, so I’ll be reviewing that. I already finished my rewatch and I’ll get the review up around Wednesday. Not that I mind too much since I’ve been wanting to write my own individual thoughts on the show for a while.

      I can’t remember anything about Angel Beats other than that I hated how the ending expects you to cry while at the same time introducing something that is either a giant plot hole or requires you to do some serious mental gymnastics to figure out an explanation for. It’s fucking distracting.

      I have my own interpretation of that ending.

      I voted for Flowers of Evil, since I want to see how that holds up for someone on a rewatch. I like that show but I don’t think I’d ever want to revisit it.

      I’ll probably do a Flower of Evil review some time considering how close it came up long after I officially counted the votes. Maybe the week after Tiger and Bunny: The Rising.

      Yeah, next time I’ll set a longer voting period and specify “when” the poll will be closed.