40 Seasons in 40 Days: Spring 2009

Oh no! I don't want to relive those episodes all over again!

With talk of global economic meltdowns and other complicated things that made life terrible in the year following the spring of 2008, the spring of 2009 was about cutting costs and maybe not making so many new series. While the latter was true, the former showed probably a bit too much, though one studio would forget that part. I wouldn’t say it was a spring for the ages, it was just a bit different in its own way.

I may as well get this out of the way quickly. The second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was quite interesting, though rarely in a good way. With the episodes combined with the first season airing in chronological order, the new episodes scattered into 2 main groups. There was a little back story in the first of the new episodes, which is fine. Then, eight episodes that drove nearly everyone mad. Making the same episode eight times was not only a waste of money, but it never conceptually should have made it onto TV. Then there were the episodes devoted to making the movie. Haruhi gets sadistic, everyone is afraid of rebelling against her, Kyon finally acts like someone his own age, but it was hard to get into this. There was supposed to be some air of threat that Haruhi would do something to the world, but since this is technically back story, I knew everything would work out. I’d probably say the whole season was just a waste of effort.

Now back to normal service with the To Heart 2 AD Plus OVA. Just adding a plus onto the title doesn’t really mean anything. There’s another couple of characters getting into predictable escapades in the first episode. The second one just illustrates how absurdly large Takaaki’s harem is as they clean a swimming pool. What next, AD Plus Special Edition?

There was also a Pani Poni Dash! OVA, which I would also think is pretty much a waste of time. It is pretty much what would be a normal episode in the series packaged to make just a bit more money from fans. I was minimally entertained as I waited for the 22 minutes to finally run out.

Hatsukoi Limited was a rather tedious watch for me, mainly because so many of the characters were awful. Pairings in the series were obvious from the start and the characters that ended up with nothing were the ones I really wanted to end with nothing. Those that did end up together were mostly dull and uninteresting on the one hand, or totally unrealistic on the other.

Higashi no Eden is an interesting case. A first episode filled with naked frolicking through Washington D.C., naked NEETs back from a journey to Dubai on shipping containers, new adventures in venture capitalism and trying to save Japan with less money than it costs to buy a guy who does 3000 sit-ups a day; this is definitely a different experience. There is definitely a lot that can be dissected in this series. Is there an inherent attack on Article 9 of the Japanese constitution in wanting the country to revisit the distant past? If a bunch of missiles fell down over Japan and no one died, would everyone really just go on like nothing happened? Is it really so hard to make more of something like this?

The second season of Hayate the Combat Butler pretty much followed the blueprint set by the latter half of the first season. There is a little change in the relationship between characters, but nothing dramatic. All the while, the women around Hayate draw closer to him. What I would give for something a bit more incisive than just simple parodies of other shows.

K-ON! doesn’t really try to do anything, and that is pretty much fine for me. It is a pretty simple slice-of-life moefest designed to attract hardcore support. I really don’t have a problem with it as a tale of friendship, I just wish it didn’t have to go all out to pander to fans. Anything else I could say on this would probably be a bit too cynical for even this space.

And finally since it was only 10 minutes of my life is the Sekirei OVA. Kusano goes out and does the shopping because she wants to be seen as equal to the other girls in Sahashi’s harem. I can’t remember the destruction of city blocks being normal, but there’s a certain Bay-esque feel to the destruction that is, of course terrible. I still don’t get the point of this though.

Highlights from Unseen or Unfinished Items

Sengoku BASARA and Queen’s Blade brought different types of fanservice to the table , and one is more highly respected than the other for it. Phantom lost me with the exploding helicopter in the very first episode, the high ratings will have to fall off a cliff surely. Will I ever actually get to finish Cross Game, and will I actually watch it for the correct reasons? Saki lost me when the title character started to try to win, I still think I didn’t miss a thing.