40 Seasons in 40 Days: Spring 2008

A different kind of magical series.

Spring is usually by far the biggest season of the year for sheer number of releases, usually of the highest quality as well. Unfortunately, I can’t really remember it as anything more than average at best. Maybe it was the general feeling that something had utterly lost its way and would never come back feeling of this season. I’m probably just imagining that though. It was probably a good season on reflection.

Today’s look back begins with Bus Gamer. Seemingly a three-part OVA which was supposed to a larger TV series that never happened. The premise behind this is major corporations recruit groups of three people off the street to participate in a series of street brawls. This was pretty flawed as who would include a group of 3 random people when it would better just to pay and train 3 great fighters at a much lower cost with respect to the prize. There was never more than 2.5 episodes of content in this anyway.

Next is another OVA in School Days ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~. The trailer for this was already special, using a Beretta as a weapon in a magical girl sense would be unique, but the actual OVA consisted entirely of self-parody. At least in one episode it can pull this off and still be entertaining to watch, though in typical fashion it has more to do with shock value than actual content.

There was also the To Heart 2 AD OVA. Like the first OVA series, it is largely single character dumps structured around some sort of slice-of-life background. Only two episodes here, and I’m having a problem remembering anything of note from either episode. Perhaps, that’s the biggest problem here.

My single-night marathon session of Chi’s Sweet Home took place before the birth of Lower Mid-Table, though that might be a good thing. As a children’s show it is at a high level, though I couldn’t resist drinking a lot as I watched. There’s not much of a story until the latter sections, where Chi befriends a larger cat, but it is mostly just Chi doing inane things around her owner’s apartment. Unfortunately, I can remember the pet shop employee having the most annoying voice I had heard in ages.

Kure-nai is a completely different animal to those four. It’s the story of a teenage body guard, who has to put up with the annoyances of his daily life, while worrying about taking care of the daughter of a rich family. This was probably one of the few shows this decade where I could tell that there was a fun on the production side, after all the musical episode was one of my favorites from last year. The story was a little cliche for my taste, but it was an entertaining watch.

To-LOVE-Ru is probably more interesting for the arguments that come from pronouncing it than the actual content. Week after week, I kept coming back to this hoping for anything encouraging at all. It never came, though it did pull off the feat of making everything else seem like a masterpiece in comparison. However, my opinion seems to contrast with the intended audience, so what can I say?

Kanokon would seem like a similar show at first, at least the fanservice in every shot makeup of the thing. However, Kanokon seems to be comfortable knowing exactly what it is and doesn’t do anything more that it should. It’s basically the story of a boy and the fox deity girl in the same school who likes him and would ravage him at the first opportunity. There’s nothing much more than that as the time and place change along with the introduction of a rival. Part of me hates to say this, but this might actually be the model to follow when it comes to modern ecchi-fest series.

Finally I wrap up with one of my favorites of the decade in Kaiba. I went into this with pitifully low expectations about 3 months after this finished mainly because the character designs would not look out of place in the early 1960s. That was easy to forget in the vivid worlds that seem to exist in the dystopian universe of the series. It’s pretty much a classic science fiction tale which questions the meaning of physical existence in a world where bodies and memories are freely changed and exchanged. It takes a bit of effort to get into this, but it’s something I would recommend to a lot of people.

Highlights from Unseen or Unfinished Items

The second season of xxxHOLiC seems to have a comically high average rating. It can’t be that good can it? I haven’t seen the first season either. Macross Frontier and Code Geass R2 brought established reputations to the table going in. Why haven’t I finished either and why do they seem to mark some sort of end to heavy real robot action? Itazura na Kiss looks like a pretty typical shoujo story, but highly rated nonetheless. I could probably say the same thing about Special A. Vampire Knight and Soul Eater are also highly rated. Junjou Romantica seems to be the one shounen ai series that is popular and good. Golgo 13 resurrected the classic series and the episodic action format worked in what little I saw of it.