During the course of a normal year watching anime, I drop a lot of shows. It ends up being about 9 out of every 20 from my reckoning. That said, I make many, many mistakes in the eyes of my readers, followers on twitter, or people who even think of the name Emperor J. That includes those who have lived in mountain monasteries their entire lives and have no concept of blogging in their minds. So to further their confirmation bias of my taste, I present to you the list of my worst drops as rated by MAL and other comments throughout the year.
If I’m perfectly honest about the last week of the season, most of the final episodes I saw this week ranged from poor to mediocre. There were maybe two that I enjoyed, but I think that seems to be a theme lately. Put the climax of the story in the penultimate episode then just throw something together showing the cast having fun in the last episode. I get that it’s really just to sell the discs to the hardcore fans. I only finished 10 shows this season which was a bit lower than normal. I now present what I made of those 10 series that made up my summer.
This past week I did try something different with posts elsewhere. It quickly reminded me that single-digit view counts are pretty much expected when starting fresh. Even when you write on Sword Art Online to start. Then, I did my annual off-site preview of the Premier League season on my personal blog I hadn’t touched in over a year. That was about the same level of interest after blowing 3500 words. Maybe I should have just posted a bunch of screencaps from Attack on Titan and bitched about the episode not meeting my standards. You’re actually here for the few screenshots of shows that I do watch and bitching about those shows, right?
In recent days, I’ve thought about changing up the design of this blog. Basically it’s been about 2 years with this current look and I have a constant reminder of how unpopular this place is every single time I look at it. Unfortunately, the one thing I can’t seem to change is this dumb title that pretty much inhibits any potential growth (and the writing – self ed.). I wouldn’t really be starting over if I moved this to another .wordpress.com address would I?
There’s this small little convention going on somewhere on the east coast of the United States this weekend. I went to it last year, but the person I went with last year seems to have fallen completely off the face of the Earth. There have been any number of people that I’ve mostly just followed on Twitter or in this particular sphere of blogs that have withdrawn or simply moved on with their lives. That’s just something that tends to happen with the passage of time; people get lives, girlfriends, spouses, children and spend time with new groups of people. I don’t think a conscious choice is made to cut people off in situations like that, but this is the era of the declining social community. Yes, people can communicate with each other online, but how long is that going to last between nations?
It’s time to bring this feature back for the 599th post on this blog. I suppose I should do something special for that one. I’ll get around to coming up with something this week. This is the first time I’ve done a roundup collectively of the summer. I hope that’s been enough to separate the bad from the good. Unfortunately, I’m almost certain that’s eliminated any other series that my readers are still watching. I have a tendency to do that almost every single time.
But first a little digression on what’s happened this week tied to the man I’ve pictured above. That would be Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. The undoubted superstar of the club in Major League Baseball’s smallest market, 2011 National League MVP, 5-time All-Star and as of this week admitted drugs cheat. In the midst of that season, I had the unusual luck of catching the same cross-country flight as him, but as it was 2am I really made no note of it other than the coincidence of being on the same plane. This is more about fandom though. While the figures involved in creating something may go on to be a future disgrace, the thing they created will still exist. Urobuchi may now live on overhyped projects that chop women to bits and have characters say funny things just for laughs, but Madoka will still always exist. And while the season may be lost for Milwaukee now, come March 31st next season there will still be baseball played, and Braun will probably be starting in left field.
The daily lives of three different people from different worlds in Kyoto come together in the first episode of Uchouten Kazoku. The story basically breaks down into a fairly simple show about the lives of these characters. There’s Yasaburou, the third son from a tanuki family who can excellent control over transformations, Akadama, who Yasaburou takes care of and is a tengu who is no longer able to fly, and finally Satomi, better known as Benten who is the object of Akadama’s one-sided affection and is a human with mystical abilities. Beyond that, this setup lets the characters run the show.
When I had a first look at this for the season preview, my expectations weren’t high. A bunch of mythical creatures living as people doing normal things ranks pretty low on my excitement level charts. Plus, the character designs are rather unique since it appears that they have taco-shaped ears. In addition, it looks like it was done on the smallest budget P.A. Works has ever put into a show. The only saving grace could be the substance of what was being adapted. So it’s a pleasant surprise to be able to say that I was pretty well blown away by this first episode.
I say that because this is a story that is very open to interpretation. It can be considered an allegory of aging where Yasaburou is developing his abilities, Benten is older and most powerful and Akadama longs to be able to do what he was once able to do. It can be a study of the student-teacher dynamic where Akadama opened up the world to Benten only to be betrayed and so spends his time belittling the abilities of Yasaburou, who is desperate to impress him. It’s a story of unrequited loves for Benten. It’s also a story of characters who live outside of the bounds of their own cultures. Benten shouldn’t be able to fly as a human, Yasaburou should not want to be as human as he is and Akadama should not be the tengu without the ability to fly.
These three characters feel like they are part of a twisted family. They inflict pain on each other and love each other the same even though they can’t go back to how they were in earlier days. Both Benten and Akadama feel like characters who have been through a lot with the scars of past traumas still haunting them after they have long passed. Yasaburou will be dragged into that world kicking and screaming because he’s too close to them that his life is part of theirs. On character depth alone, this is the best first episode so far this season.
Reasons to Continue Watching
- Character depth
- Incredibly open to interpretation
- A feeling of the fantastic in everyday living
Reasons to Drop
- Character designs take a lot to get used to
- Not a lot of actual events happening
- Too into itself
My Verdict: This would be a strong candidate for surprise show of the season. I guess the key to making a P.A. Works show work is to strip excess from the budget. How good would straight voice acted storyboard have been?
This is probably the first post where I’ve actually tried to get assistance from other people in it’s creation. For the most part this is just a fairly standard preview with my opinions in it plus some other information. I wish I could have been a bit more creative with that, but I can only work with what I’ve got.