I thought I would never come back to writing posts like these. They never turn out to work, I spend a ton of time and effort and no one really reads them anyway. However, I really needed something, anything to write about this season that wasn’t terribly meta or utterly depressing. So here I am back again to write about the upcoming season and not a single one of you will actually read this paragraph.
The obvious caveats that go with this are numerous. If you’ve listened to any of the recent Friday Anime Podcast season preview episodes, I’m the guy who knows fuck all about studios and who has a taste worse than Kelloggs, but no one bothers anymore about saying that because I’m beyond hope. So don’t expect to be informed by any of this.
The first half of this decade ends with the massive series dump that was the fall of 2004. Things were starting to pick up from a production standpoint. No longer was I limited to just a few fall series of which 1 or 2 would be good. There were now a bunch of options of which…a few would be good. The visual novel adaptations were also increasing in number, and that could only be good…right?
The 8th part of this series, and I certainly hope it hasn’t been like something being looped repeatedly despite everyone else wanting it to stop, takes us a little further ahead from last time. Looking back on it, this season wasn’t very good for me finishing stuff at all. That probably has to do with the fact I was alternating between applying for programs that I could never get past the first interview stage and fruitlessly looking for jobs in the city all while trying to cram down some knowledge of French so I could graduate, but I digress. I completed a whopping 1 (one) series that was showing as it aired, and only went back and saw 2 others later.
So what did I finish at the time you’re not asking? That would be To Heart 2, which started with low expectations for me overall. I went in expecting it to struggle to find it’s own feet, and I was surprised that it managed to do so. That said, there isn’t all that much depth here. The drama of the original series is pretty much replaced with typical harem antics and little danger posed to anyone. It does, at least, do a good job of recognizing that Takaaki should never have that many girls interested in him at once.
The two series I went back to finishing were first, Shakugan no Shana. I marathoned this one the following summer between jobs since I had tons of time on my hands. To be honest, I didn’t find any of the action storylines or the backstory interesting at all. The character development between Yuji and Shana is where the real substance of the story is, and that part it does very well. I still can’t get over my biggest problem which is how easily the other characters accept the situation they are all in.
Later, I revisited Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s as part of my marathoning all three series. As I said before, it is the best of the three series. The combination of tight storyline, excellent animation and editing will probably not be matched for a long time in the magical girl genre. Unfortunately, that might have more to do with the fact the genre has changed in recent years to something unrecognizable, or even parodied in unrelated genres.
Highlights from Shows Unseen or Unfinished
Aria the Animation sparked a number of series that I plainly do not understand. I get that slice-of-life can be an easy way to get away from the stresses of real life, in much the same way I watch baseball during the summer, but excessive focus on one or two characters just compromises lots of shows in the genre. Paradise Kiss was sadly lost to me a third of the way through in a tragic double hard drive crash 18 months ago. Jigoku Shoujo was not lost in that, but I could tell it was a classic episodic format that could only fail be trying to do too much.
Part 4 of this series moves us to a mere 2.5 years ago. While I haven’t actually checked, this season marked a high point in number of series produced, anecdotally at least. This season for me was defined by my earliest exposures to inexplicable hatred toward mediocre series, the inability for me to finish off other series and perhaps 2 of the best examples of social commentary I have seen in anime.