An Anniversary of Sorts…Impressions and Reflections of Falls Past and Present

Burned out? Not so much as completely devoid of ideas.
Burned out? Not so much as completely devoid of ideas.

One year ago today I started this little project in writing having really no idea what I wanted to focus on and perhaps mainly as a way to kill time since I did not have anything to do the next day. With almost half of my posts in the past year devoted to Legend of the Galactic Heroes, as great as that is, I still think things haven’t quite gone to plan. Since I have a tendency to perhaps overreact to anything new in the most negative way possible (see my Worst Spring Ever posts from the first week of April), I though I would reflect on how this fall compares in the short term compares to last year.

Firmly proving that I don't actually have to finish a show to get a reference

Last fall had tons of quality in shows that I did not actually manage to finish. While I could go on about insanely melodramatic school dramas, cheapening reset endings, post-apocalyptic settings that do little more than provide atmosphere, the worst case of DVD-pushing censorship ever seen or finding someone who cannot tolerate any character named Hime, I can only go off the fact that is all hearsay. So what the hell was I watching last year you probably aren’t asking?

Eight minutes of a couple of characters eating cakes can be entertaining.

My slice of life series last year was Hyakko, while it lacked in plenty of areas the attempts at comedy were usually short lived never lasting more than a few minutes. A solid if unspectacular series basically. This year, Seitokai no Ichizon has been my attempt to fill that little niche. To say it is going pretty badly is an understatement. Episode 5 in particular felt like it was draining away my life force as I kept watching. Why haven’t I dropped this yet?

Advantage: 2008

I think this OVA was probably one of the better things I've watched this year.

For my fan-service-heavy-but-weak-in-plot needs I watched Akane-iro Somaru Saka. While the implied potential incest angle could be questionable in taste, it wasn’t full blown like Koi Kaze. I can remember watching a few of the episodes in the middle where my interest would never be maintained. The series that probably fits closest to this now is Sora no Otoshimono. While I would say the plot is pretty much paper thin from what I’ve seen. The level of fan service can would probably be a bit less that I expected, but I have to give some credit for the strange mix of continuity and episodic elements.

Advantage: Push

2008, a year when lengthy mid-battle exposition became acceptable
2008: The Year When Lengthy Mid-Battle Exposition Became Acceptable

As my direct comparisons are going to fall apart rather quickly I think I’ll just have to do this one at a time. Toaru Majutsu no Index, would not be something I would have classified as a guilty pleasure necessarily. It took me a while to go back to this after the first half of the series, but the quality of certain arcs was pretty poor while others were good. Take episode 17 as an example, trying to rush in character development for Kanzaki in the middle of a battle just made the episode a gigantic shambles in the space of a couple of minutes. The Accelerator arc on the other hand worked for me because it kept things simple. Bad guy gets what’s coming to him and Touma gets the girl…sort of.

Trying to compare that to Kämpfer would be silly, but some of the same lessons can be applied. While it would be hard to call anything in this gender-bender combat fighting series excellent, it does do well in recognizing how absurd it is from the constant disregard it shows for the fourth wall. Unfortunately, I don’t see how they can keep it simple for as long as even 12 episodes.

This kind of attention to detail had me forgetting what they were arguing about in the first place

About this time last year I was trying to catch up on episode of Kannagi. For the effort of a disgraced director trying comedy again it was alright. Such was this show’s influence on me that I have forgotten if there was actually a plot developing toward the end of the series. I get that it is popular, but I don’t really know why.

Contrasting with that is Madhouse’s latest effort with the Aoi Bungaku series of short stories. While I’ve only seen the first 3 episodes which cover just the “No Longer Human” story, it is good to see modern sensibilities applied to classic stories. I also wasn’t expecting much in the way of social commentary, but I’ve been impressed by what I have seen so far.

If ChäoS;HEAd had worked it's way back to this ending, I probably would have had immense respect for it

Last of the fall 2008 series was ChäoS;HEAd; which gets some credit like all things that try as hard as they can to run into a hard brick wall. While there is something that could be said about the quality of writing that gets several girls attracted to a hikikomori, it’s all just a delusion anyway. How I wish the ending would have been a lot more negative.

For the rest of this fall’s shows I’m sticking with, there’s the shoujo/yuri combination of Kimi ni Todoke and Sasameki Koto that I’m shocked to be watching and enjoying. While the former seems to be well-packaged and quick to avoid cliche writing, I worry about the ability of the series to generate conflict beyond a certain point. The latter is probably the best directed series airing at the moment, while I’ve been largely impressed with the music direction in the dramatic moments.

Finally, there’s Trapeze or chū Buranko or whatever it is called. I can’t really pass judgement on this without seeing the complete work. Well, maybe if I took some mind-compromising substance I could.

Overall I would say 2008 wins this comparison at the moment. I can probably revisit this in my end-of-year post when I’ve probably gotten my current shows trimmed to a similar number as last year.

6 thoughts on “An Anniversary of Sorts…Impressions and Reflections of Falls Past and Present”

  1. Congrats on one year of blogging! 😀

    This Fall does seem meek in comparison to last year’s indeed, but I guess the reason is simple: there are too many series being dished out lately. Almost every season bids a direct comparison to the previous one in all genres, and we keep seeing the same things over and over again. Like, Sasameki Koto is rather meh, while Aoi Hana from last season is superior to it in several ways.

    Bottom line, guess we’re heading right on towards oversaturation. I think it’d make more sense to watch older series now.

  2. Congratulations! I feel rather good how close to each other our respective beginnings in this hobby are, along with animekritik and schneider; you’re someone that I regularly read and have variably kept me company throughout the year in anime conversation. Keep it up and don’t burn out like me! (I’ll be back though!)

  3. Congratulations! I just got word of your blog via GL’s comment. Mind you, I was here before but I think I must have thought it was a carpentry blog.. Whenever I start watching LOGH I’ll be sure to check your posts out…

  4. I was actually thinking of doing an origin story on the blog name, but I think I would get a couple of sentences in before anyone reading would just lose concentration. Thanks everyone for the comments, and hopefully Year 2 of this project can be a much bigger success (or not a failure)

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