Normally, it would be easy to say a season containing something with a MAL rating below 2.9 would by default be the worst season ever. That’s a bit unfair, though it probably makes bottom 5 because of it. There’s a lot of stuff here, a couple of which I didn’t feel like burning my clothing and take a long cold shower afterwards. Alright, that’s exaggerating just a bit.
First, there’s a 4-part Ichigo 100% OVA. There’s not really a whole bunch going on plotwise in these, no big surprise considering how much I’ve said about these OVAs in this retrospective, but these really are remarkable for being so unremarkable. It’s really just throwing the characters into totally generic shorts and not even trying to write it to make it interesting.
Pani Poni Dash! served as my personal introduction to Shinbo’s style. In a show willing to make a mockery of the 4th wall, there isn’t really all that much depth to have something worth analyzing. It’s more decoration than anything. The completely non-ending conclusion could have probably used some work, but other than that I don’t really have a lot of complaints about the development of the series. Like a lot of comedies this decade, there were plenty of hit or miss episodes, but in the end I ultimately liked it.
Suzuka is not something I remember with lots of conviction, much like the main characters. It’s a high school romance show with loads and loads of angst and indecisiveness. The male protagonist Yamato’s relationships with women and his performances in the 100m dash seem to head in opposite directions. He gets better and he goes out with the “safe” option in the manager of the track team. He ultimately fails on the track near the end of the series and ends of with the title character. I think that about sums up 80% of the series there.
Shuffle! looked like a typical visual novel adaptation with generic stereotype characters surrounding an indecisive lead in Rin. Then something peculiar happened just after halfway, he actually made a decision on which girl he wanted. Then, all hell broke lose and I discovered the term yandere as a result. It’s a little over dramatic and cliche-ridden as hell, but at least it did something different in the harem genre from anything I had seen prior.
Mars of Destruction is only loved ironically. Alright, it’s god awful and produced on a budget of 1000 yen, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing from this decade.
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid has a telegraphed ending, cheapens the best arc from the first season, and the villains just don’t work for me as characters. On the plus side, I liked Sousuke showing his real age in the later episodes, and that includes the walk through Hong Kong. So, easily twice the series of the Gonzo produced first season in half the length, probably not as good as its rating suggests, but good nonetheless.
Ichigo Mashimaro is a troubling series for me. The idea of having a character from England who is culturally Japanese and cannot speak English, is an interesting idea that I wish would be used more often. Though making her from Cornwall seems a tad unrealistic, in that not living in Cornwall would have been a massive cultural change itself. The problem I had was the use of Nobue to project a certain demographic’s desires onto the younger girls. Beyond that, I would really call the series average slice-of-life stuff.
Highlights from Unseen or Unfinished Items
There was another Guyver anime, which I have to mention because I associate Guyver with Mark Hamill needing work. I could never quite finish Kamichu!, I blame the character designs which made me fearful of continuing for something bad to happen to them.