Unlike yesterday’s post, there’s a large number of things I did watch in this season. There’s a wide range consisting of things like cynical marketing ploys, a poor man’s School Days, several visual novel adaptations and yes, more Minami-ke. Beginning this entry is the first of the new Evangelion movies, Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone. As a summary movie of the series, it does it’s job pretty well. The updated animations and visuals also look great as well. Part of me is still pretty apprehensive about this though because it seems like a cynical marketing ploy. The 3 separate DVD releases, the way it’s been rolled out, I could go on. It just seems like a money making exercise more than anything else.
Next is another movie, Sword of the Stranger. Having only seen this once in some sort of hybrid watch/online chat session, my experience might be a bit different from most. It ended up turning into an episode of MST3K, which while a bit harsh on this movie, isn’t entirely unjustified. Being able to point out CG doors, unrealistic “camera” shaking and other anomalies makes it much easier to break out of the group think that this is a classic movie. I just found it merely to be good.
Now to the start of the TV series beginning with Myself; Yourself. What at the beginning looks like a pretty bog-standard school harem story by the end takes so many unbelievable trips that it was like they were getting out the idea balls. It is basically a story of a group of friends who are reunited as the main character returns for high school. At the finish, the two characters who are probable to get together at the end do, though it involves a story involving people setting themselves on fire and wrist-cutting; the two fraternal twins go off to elope, and the one normal character stays pretty much normal. Also, the OP animation is horribly, horribly misleading here.
Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun is more of a typical harem story. The harem lead is actually capable of doing things on his own, so he isn’t completely powerless. However, that just makes the fact that the women he ends up involved with suck his strength away, figuratively and literally with one being a succubus and all. This is pretty much cheap throwaway harem versus harem trying to rip off School Days.
Clannad is clearly probably the best of the TV show lot here. It probably deserves to be up near the top of many lists for best series of the decade, though I think there are still a lot of problems. The first season here suffers from that classic visual novel trap in trying to cram as many routes from the original into the series as possible. It is done better than most at trying it, and it spares them from the complaints of ignoring some characters. Also, strangely I think it tries a bit too hard to play at viewers emotions.
Then, ef – a tale of memories gave us the full Shinbo treatment. I only watched the first episode this first aired and passed it off as something that tried so many visual tricks that there was no actual substance. Later, I did go back and watch the whole thing. While I would consider the two separate story lines to be good on their own, I still think they probably milked the emotional aspects a bit too much. Maybe it was burnout from too many psychotic female characters of this period.
On the other hand, Kimi Kiss ~ pure rouge, presents us with too many female characters who are dull, lifeless stereotypes who offer little in the form of entertainment. It is slice of life after all. Anyway, the whole story tries to play off of Anna Karenina, though at least that one had deaths in the middle of its examination of relationships. This one just has them play out in horribly predictable fashion. An utter waste of time this was.
Next is Minami-ke, the one that doesn’t look like the animation was outsourced to small islands in the middle of the Pacific. This series really just serves to introduce the audience to the characters and their numerous traits. Unlike the two seasons to follow, this first season’s episodes are not broken up into separate parts. This probably hurts the quality of the writing which is actually inversely proportional to the animation.
Genshiken 2 takes a different route from the first season, which focused largely on trying to enter the world of all of the Genshiken members. This second season reverses that and takes on the Genshiken’s interactions with the outside world. Everything from foreigners with similar interests, to the need to the emotional rollercoaster that is looking for employment. I would say this is slice of life done right.
Moyashimon is pretty similar in some ways. The college setting, the process of trying to determine what to do with life, impulsive life-altering decisions, traps; okay maybe this isn’t entirely realistic. At the most basic level, this would be like a typical college comedy with men trying to get drunk and hook up with women, but it’s much more than that. It’s more a coming-of-age story than anything else really, though having the ability to see microbes makes getting through life a bit easier.
Koharu Biyori is supposedly a comedy. It has all the hallmarks of your typical ecchi, maid robot filled slapstick comedy. Though, I can’t ever recall laughing at it once. Even the girl constantly caught up in tentacles did nothing for me. Why do I bother?
Highlights from Unseen or Unfinished Items
There’s an Aria OVA which seems to be just back story. When is back story ever interesting or rather when is it not completely pointless? Sketchbook ~full color’S~ is a portrait of the artist as a young woman, oh wait, it’s a semi-highly rated show about a girl who likes drawing and cats. How slice of life like. Bamboo Blade contributes some more to the shounen with a mostly female-cast genre. It has a bunch of dedicated fans out there, too. And here’s a pointless mention of Gonzo’s need to conceal a plot behind gigantic breasts in Dragonaut.