40 Seasons in 40 Days: Spring 2003

If the whole series was devoted to out-of-context violence with baseball bats, it would be epic.

Before I get started with this season I probably need to make something clear about this season. While the series I did complete probably do not rank anywhere near the highest quality for the decade, this season was probably one of the better spring seasons in the decade. I’ve just never gotten around to watching most of it.

The first of two (yes, just 2) to highlight today is D.N.Angel. At first, it just seemed like a sort of adventure of the week with a sort of disturbing love angle behind it. I was troubled by the art thief aspect of Niwa Daisuke’s alter-ego, in that it seemed like a perfectly fine pursuit in the universe of this series. On the other hand, I thought the trigger for his transformation worked as an allegory for a teenage boy. Unable to truly express how he feels, he instead becomes a rebel against society. This analysis falls apart, though, with Krad, unless he is considered some sort of homicidal maniac that lives within all teenagers. What a frightening world that would be. Also, the predictable change of heart for Daisuke between the two sisters could have been done better.

The second is Narue no Sekai, which is the story of love between two kids in middle school and their fight against aliens. There’s not too much depth in the story here, with simple changes between episodes. I’d probably compare it most closely to something like Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, which is fitting since the title characters in each are voiced by the same person. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this title, it’s just that it is so ordinary over six years later that I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone really.

Highlights from Unseen or Unfinished Items

As I said in the opening, there were some good series during this season. Kaleido Star seems to provide some good value in a story about a girl chasing a dream in America. Last Exile serves as a reminder that at one point in their existence Gonzo could actually produce quality shows without whoring themselves to the lowest common denominator. Kino no Tabi is the rare series that tries to look critically at society through a neutral observer. Tantei Gakuen Q is a mystery series that is done right without running for an eternity. Texhnolyze is probably the darkest and most surreal mood-altering series of the decade. By sheer chance and ignorance, I have seen just one episode out of all of these.