Sometimes being an anime blogger reminds me of my own mortality in the existential sense. Every season, Japan creates new anime shows. Every season, I consume them like I’m in They Live. In short, Nietzsche was fucking wrong: when you stare into the abyss, the abyss doesn’t stare back. The abyss is there, and doesn’t care that you’re tired of shitty light novel harem adaptations about Japanese nerds transported into fantasy worlds.
Anyway, here are my revelations from this anime season. Maybe you can avoid the madness that is overtaking me.
I didn’t watch this but you probably should (Or, why I’m writing less of this column until I catch up on anime):
Osomatsu-san pt 2:
- AniTwitter loves this show. This is a hyperactive parody show that’s funnier the more anime you watch. Why didn’t I watch this again? Also, because Japanese laws are inferior to ours, it is now impossible to legally watch the first episode (parody and fair use don’t exist in Japan).
Showa Genroku Takugo Shinjuu:
- Studio Deen made the show of the season. I’m still in disbelief, but other people I respect are convinced of this.
- DURARARA! The 15+ main character (over half of them with powers) extravaganza by and around Japan’s version of Austin (in the “Keep Austin Weird” sense) make this show an acquired taste. The pacing changes from the first series to the second (the first series had significantly more episodes per source novel), has certainly weakened the show, but it would have to make a lot of mistakes to burn all of the goodwill I have from seasons 1 and 2.
- Attractive boys play volleyball, and totally don’t hook up with each other. I’m still not caught up on Kuroko No Basket, or Yowapedal. God, I’m behind on my sports shows.
I finished this (you should probably should too):
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans:
- I like giant robots. The director of this show understands how to stage and animate a giant robot fight. It’s also a lovable darkening of the standard Gundam tropes (the masked bishie villain who’s more likable than the protagonist, the quirky mini-boss squad). The show completely sticks the landing in the last quarter when it follows through on the consequences (to both the characters and innocent bystanders) of embracing “war is hell,” and manages to evoke complex emotions, like when you cheer for a sociopathic child soldier who murders another character without warning in the middle of their “Team Rocket” speech. It’s basically Gundam: Reality Ensues.
- Argued by almost everyone to be the show of the season. This is the director of Sword Art Online telling a simple “power of friendship” time travel mystery story. The ending was something of a disappointment, but the journey up until then was completely worth it. Hilarious side note: do not Google Erased, as the one of the sidebar image results is a last episode spoiler!
- Just barely on this part of the list (both in that I almost dropped the show, and am not sure if I should recommend it). Many would say Grimgar is paced poorly, but many people are wrong. Grimgar is very intentionally a slice of life for DnD adventurers show. It forces you to see the party deciding on cooking duties (or getting to know each other) as just as important as them getting better at killing goblins. Frankly, it passed my litmus test for fantasy, in that it made me miss playing tabletop DnD. So yes, it’s worth watching. Make sure you commit to watching the first 6 episodes or so in one sitting, because the show is very easy to drop after 1 or 2 episodes. (Some of the changes that occur at about the midway point make the show watchable, and is why the show is not at all forgettable, despite it’s premise.)
I finished this and I probably shouldn’t have:
- A mean-spirited parody of “teenager trapped in video game world” shows, Konosuba hates its characters, its audience, and its genre. It’s also surprisingly funny in the “THIS IS TRASH! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT YOU FILTHY OTAKU TRASH” kinda way. Here’s a gif of the main character learning the steal skill, which becomes an episode of him stealing girl’s panties.
- I wrote about this show before, here (“Gate is not a competent show”) and here (“Final verdict: beyond trash.”). And yet I finished the second season. On the positive side, the second season had one of the most interesting characters of the entire show, a sex “slave” to the emperor of the medieval fantasy world who is using her position to destroy the entire society by convincing her “owner” to pick a fight with Japan she knows that he cannot win. On the other hand, the show still has every possible problem with sexual entitlement, and is not only pro-military but pro-imperialism. Here are some of the “couples” the show sets up in the last episode (spoilers, because fuck you for even thinking about watching this show):
Umm, fuck you, Netflix:
- I read the manga. I was excited for the show. And I’m still waiting for Netflix to release all of it (with dubs), House of Cards style. Once they do, I’ll watch it in one sitting.
I dropped it and I’m glad:
- Not a big fan of the animation style. Takes five episodes to set up what should have taken them two at the most, ie., interesting characters with a goal to pursue.
- The animation is downright ugly by Ufotable standards (which is like saying a film is Kubrick’s worst movie). And both the story and characters are shit. I’d rather play Project X Zone and fail to reconstruct their stories from the hackneyed dialogue there.
- Dropped it a long time ago. The idea is acceptable for the “teenagers fight to save the world with all of the sharp edges filled off” genre. But the pacing is awful (each episode probably has enough content for 7-8 minutes of normal pacing). If you like the idea, marathon the manga.
- I had the pleasure of dropping this show after the first few episodes, before the quality fell off a complete and total cliff (when AniTwitter and the mainstream anime press both hate a show’s ending, you should be concerned). The characters are boring implementations of clever ideas, and the show has nothing new to say beyond its plot. Here’s the main character dancing. Just watch this on loop for four hours instead of watching this show. You’ll be happier.
- This is slice of life moe trash. Kyoani, I expect better from you. At least we got this gif from it:
I dropped it, but maybe you’ll like it more than me:
Prince of Stride:
- This is the Nextwave of “cute men doing sports” animes; it distilled the genre down to its essence by inventing a fictional sport designed to show off its characters’ physiques. There is exactly one female character for the audience to project onto, and the show has nothing to say. Besides, I have too many “real” sports animes to watch first. In a post Free! world, I can get all of my ironic pleasure from a show that also happens to actually be good.
- This show is for mecha otaku, people who love the hypothetical science of giant robots. The characters are bland and the gender roles are all the worst kinds of anime trash, but the show is really about a smart engineer and smart soldier outsmarting giant robots. So it’s all talking heads and theoretical giant robot physics puzzles. Oh, and boobs.
- I don’t like the new cg style, with the big eyes/small mouth character designs and animating on the 20s. Also, the story rubbed me the wrong way. (The main character’s decisions are inexplicable, and goes long enough with no fucking goal that I dropped the show.)
- 6-minute episodes about an idol group made of marble busts. This is a troll show to inflict on your roommate/significant other when they make the mistake of trying to take an interest in your anime hobby. It has one joke, but it is a funny joke.
Didn’t watch it, and you shouldn’t either:
Luck and Logic:
- Ahh, one thing we definitely need: more anime designed to soft launch import CCGs.
- Muv-Luv is a great franchise. You should read the visual novels.
That’s it for this overview of the past season of anime. Tune in next time when I go over the next season, and hopefully in between there will be some Nothing But Trash posts.