No review this week. Instead, I’m going to be using my Monday slot to talk about the new anime season so far.
Just to make it clear, I am officially retired from episodic blogging and the like (aside from my comments on the Nihon Review forums). These days, I like to look at an anime on this blog after I finish it (or get as close to finishing it as possible) like I do with films and leave the constantly weekly analyses to other people. And since I like my reviews to be a surprise, I try not to spoil too much of what I think, even on Twitter. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you guys what I’m watching right now along with some pre-thoughts. So let’s get to it. Here are my thoughts, roughly arranged in order from most enjoyable to least enjoyable.
I pegged this anime to be the most potentially interesting of the bunch pre-season and so far, it’s succeeding at that. Unfortunately, if these first two episodes are anything to go by, Gangsta is going to be nothing more than a solid show at best. That’s not a bad thing, or even all that unexpected given how Manglobe at its best has always been a bit of a “good without being great” studio. Still, I’d really like a unique take on the criminal lifestyle.
Ushio and Tora
Until this anime actually gets to the parts of the manga that people love so much, I’m just going to watch this with a slightly amused expression. Whilst I enjoy the 90s throwback just fine (except for the humor, which quite frankly annoys me in its dated nature), that’s going to mean nothing without a proper hook, and so far this anime doesn’t have anything in that’s more than watchable at best. Slow burners, man.
(giant gap in-between)
Gatchaman Crowds Insight
I’m still not sure what people love about Crowds. It’s not a bad show or anything. I just don’t think the melding of superheroes with current technology is pushed as hard enough as, say, Tiger and Bunny’s melding of superheroes with crass consumerism. And guys, can we at least wait until Insight kicks into gear before we start showering the praise? I know you guys loved the first season, but new installments should stand on their own.
Red Haired Snow White
Yes, this show is pretty standard as shoujo romances go, especially ones in a fantasy. But you know what? I could use some standard shoujo in my life, and given my recent track record with Bones as of late, this might be just what I need to temporarily forget how crappy their stories generally are. Split-cour format sends warning bells, but I’m more likely to finish a two-cour anime when there’s a break in-between seasons, so we’ll see whether that’s a good thing or not.
As expected from an anime written by a visual novel writer, this show has too much setup without much story to compensate. But more than that, I’m not a big fan of how the superpowers are being used in this show. Being a metaphor for puberty and humanity exploiting said powers and such is kind of expected from the genre at this point in time, and it doesn’t help that the characters aren’t all that interesting. I don’t dislike any of them – although I question the little sister’s existence – but aside from when the main acts like a narcissist, their characterization is kind of off.
Whilst I appreciate that it doesn’t talk my ear off, God Eater is not dragging me in at all. It’s not K-levels of “style over substance”, but I don’t like how video-gamey everything is, and whilst the visual style is unique, it’s also kind of boring and janky. The action is clunkily executed, the slow-motion is just plain awful, and the story/characters have no identity whatsoever. Feels like I’m watching an Attack on Titan-clone if you removed all the reasons you’d want to watch Titan apart from the actual setting.
Rokka no Yuusha
At this point, I’ve probably seen more than ten of Tsutomu Mizushima’s shows. And to this day, all I have to ask is one question regarding his popularity: why? He never makes me laugh. Prison School never makes me laugh. I might as well be watching some real 80s prison movies if this is the best tribute you can do for the genre in this day and age.
Ranpo no Laplace
I’ve seen some bad mystery stories, including Guy Ritchie’s mediocre Holmes adaptations, but this adaptation of Ranpo’s works has got to be even more gimmicky than that. At this point, I’m pretty much in this just to see if it’ll get to Umineko levels of insane. But not likely, considering even freaking Battler was more charismatic than anyone of those mouthpieces this show calls “characters”.
I didn’t like it when Monogatari had tons of meaningless dialogue without story progression. I didn’t like it when the Type/Moon franchise goes on crappy go-nowhere spiels. So why the heck would I like it when Durarara does it? Snore.
Wasn’t aware of the manga’s popularity beforehand, so I mostly ignored it until I saw its position on MAL and tons of positive word regarding the premiere. Can’t say I see the appeal personally. None of the sex jokes have any bite and the whole mood is really saccharine. People say that the world of demons will be explored later, but all they’re doing is reminding me of Shuffle when they say that, and not even Jerry Jewell voicing Rin could save that show.
Strike 1: This is a military story. Worse yet, it’s ALSO a high fantasy story. Two genres I have absolutely zero interest in whatsoever.
Strike 2: The fantasy side are a bunch of idiotic one-sided douchebags and the military side is just incompetently executed.
Strike 3: The action sucks balls. Not Arslan bad, but a bunch of explosions out of nowhere whilst the “war is hell” music plays does not make for exciting action.
Strike 4: This is going to be 24 episodes long. A-1 in general has problems with pacing in their one-cour shows. Their two-cour ones are just way too slow for me.
Three plus one strikes and you’re out, Gate. Not watching anymore of you.
Ignoring the fact that this is another light novel adaptation with an MMO setting (hard to do given how many of them there are), I could see Overlord working if it wasn’t so dry in its execution. The animation is minimal, there’s no drive to the whole “lonely guy wastes his life in a shut-down game” premise, and the show won’t let us know anything about the main, making it hard to care for his self-defeating journey into MMO hell. Maybe this will change later on now that the setup is out of the way, but until then, it’s getting ranked pretty low.
Whilst I don’t share the overwhelming “worst anime this season aside from maybe Logos” reaction that some people have with this show, Chaos Dragon is still really freaking boring. Worse than that, it’s incredibly incompetent in oh so many ways. The exposition and designs are too bland and busy, the action and animation are garbage, and the story is even more generic than Rokka no Yuusha. And just to hammer the nail in the coffin, it’s even more of a gimmicky mess than Ranpo. That’s pretty bad.
Why am I not surprised that Bobduh likes this show to the point that he’d pick it up for weekly ANN reviews? I admit the setting looks nice, but everything else about this show is so f*cking awful, and it’s pretty bad when MAL is agreeing with me on the matter. What is the point to all this shit you’re throwing at us? What is going on? Why am I forced to sit through long long LONG scenes of pointless exposition and world-building that has nothing to do with the story? Who are these characters? Why am I supposed to care?
Overall, a meh season with some potentials from the manga adaptations. Only one of these shows I dropped is Gate (technically Symphogear as well, but I never had any intention of watching it anyways), so even though a lot of people complain about how crappy this summer is compared to what’s come before, I’m still watching way more anime than I did in previous seasons. A bunch of these shows are squished together on the same day, so my Wednesdays are mostly anime-free. I’m still working out some reality stuff so I don’t know when I’ll get to using that day for my other projects, but I really do want to get another Porno Watch out sometime.