So yes, it’s been about three weeks since I’ve had a proper update with this season’s showings. I’ve made some Twitter comments, and updated the Quick Bites on the sidebar, but not much else. It’s really because while what I am watching isn’t bad, it’s nothing really gripping to write about either. This has prompted me to watch regular programming, notably NCIS, Top Gear, and Archer. But since those are not anime, I can’t tell you how good they were.
So I’m terribly sorry for that, and I’m going to fix it. Hold on to your butts.
The most gripping of shows in past weeks has been Robotics;Notes and Space Bros.. They really grabbed your seat and wretched you with the possibility of Hibito dying from lack of oxygen as his tank runs out, but he is saved at the last minute by BRIAN-3, the oxygen generating system they sent ahead of Buggy in case of emergency. The gamble paid off and both astronauts survived. I didn’t think they would kill his character given how important the brothers are, but that whole arc was done so well. This really is the show you should be watching if you are any sort of fan of the space program or space in general. Notes, on the other hand, loses a character when Irei’s legs start moving on their own and send her over a cliff to her death, at the same time Subaru is crushed by Gunbuild-2 when the wind knocks the robot over. He survives, albeit broken, but the consequence of both sees the disbanding of the club and Akiho trying to sort out her feelings for her ambition and her sister’s dream. To be honest, Steins;Gate was much better at the suspense and story, especially by the seventeenth episode. I feel they dicked around a little too long with the reports to where there are now only five more episodes to fully explain their significance, though that might come in the next episode.
Little Busters actually picked up and got a little better with the arc on the sisters Haruka and Kanata, and dare I say the better arc of the show, but as many have lamented, this show suffers from poor pacing and very little character development compared to its source material. I’ve never played the VN, so obviously I have no ground to stomp on, but I found myself just bored during many episodes in the middle of the series, and that I attribute to it being a Key series. Unlike many people, I’m not terribly fond of Air, Clannad, Kanon, or other shows Fred Gallagher bases his shallow comic characters from. What has kept me watching was the VN’s basic premise of it being a Matrix-like world created to console him from the fact his friends are dead in the real world. That hasn’t happened, and I’m convinced it will not come. They’re intent on playing this out straight. Power to them, but disappoint for me.
Following the Angry Chess Kid Principle of Popularity (ACKPP) everyone else I know should be telling me to stop liking what they don’t like with Vividred Operation. It’s not Strike Witches, it’s not doing anything new or exciting, and the plot is fairly dull and uninspiring. But to use a most-recent Top Gear episode metaphor, Vividred is trying to live up to the established popularity of Witches, like it’s a Ford Focus, all sleek and fast. When Vividred rolls out, it looks like a Vauxhill Astra, and you wince, but once inside, it’s a different experience you actually like, though I’ve actually never driven either. But I’ll take Clarkson’s word for it. I actually like Vividred, and that’s the weirdest boner, I can spot the glaring issues with the story, the pacing, and the characters, but I am having too much fun with the suits, the weapons, and the fusion forms, that I’m willing to dismiss a lot just to enjoy this. Will I be buying Figma figures for any of these girls? Probably not, although Himawari, maybe want.
The thing about Kotoura-san is that after a strong opening that really put the spin on what could have been a flimsy SoL comedy, the show shifted gears and fell into this groove of fun. The episodes are light, the humor is mid-range, and they depart from the cold stone floor of the first episode. But that shot of a “she mad” Kotoura’s mother means we’re probably going to shift gears into srsbins mode soon. I personally am enjoying the fact that this show balances fun with the serious aspect of having the ability to read minds, that there is a very noticable and outward consequence of reading minds that children do not understand, making it unfortunate for them when the world around them crumbles as Kotoura’s did in the beginning of the show. But characters came around her and gave her a sense of purpose and a meaning to life, and although we’re not talking a show like Hourou Musuko or Sakamichi no Apollon, we are talking about melding real talk into a show, much like the final episodes of Angelic Layer where Misaki realizes her mother was the champion all along. I’m hoping for an ending like that, where Kotoura and her mother can make do after years of strife and personal differences. We’ll see if it unfolds that way.
Tamako Market, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT, and Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo just sort of plod along in a “monster of the week” format for me, really. Tamako Market has actually been an enjoyable show for what it is worth, it’s the type of SoL comedy you expect from KyoAni, nothing new to bat home over, but I guess after shows like K-ON! and Lucky Star, you just sort of enjoy the random things that happen. Haganai, on the other hand, hasn’t really done much with this season besides spend episodes exploring one-off ideas, like a young boy experimenting with his dick and a vacuum cleaner (Note: I have never done this. I knew better with vacuums of the 80s/90s) on a Saturday night. Granted some of the episodes have been humorous, and Rika’s hairstyle of the week has been interesting, but I feel the flair from the first season has worn off and they aren’t sure what to do with themselves. Sakurasou, lastly, is sort of idling in park. Mashiro continues to flutter back and forth on Kanada, Nanami can’t decide if she wants the D, Misaki always acts like she is going to explode unless Jin does inside her, and Ryuunosuke is male-tsundere for Rita. What’s next? Where’s the beef? The first half of this show was terribly good for what it was, how will the last half end?
Minami-ke is Minami-ke. You don’t fuck with perfection. Or write about it either.
Finally, the two rather disappointing shows of the season. Sasami-san@Gabaranai, and Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru . Now, to be fair, Sasami-san is the stronger of the two by leaps and bounds, and I love the OP to pieces, but it just isn’t grabbing me. SHAFT demonstrated with Madoka that it could hook some hipsters along for the ride with crazy backgrounds and scene transitions that remind you of something Yoshitoshi Abe did in the 1990s and early 2000s, and certainly I get these very Lain-like feelings watching Sasami-san, but it’s just so random on purpose that it can’t be random on accident. Madoka had characters driving the story with backgrounds that complimented it. Sasami-san has the opposite, backgrounds that are supposed to affect the character’s actions and dialogue. To complicate things, the story and plot, if there is much of one, is manipulated in a strange fashion so that you only have a small idea of what it is about. Is she a God? Is the not? Why is her brother always covering his face? Oh, because it’s their religious upbringing. What about the sisters? Why was she a shut-in? What is with her bro-complex? Don’t get me wrong, a good show should ask the viewer some questions and withhold some of the information until the right time, but stringing the viewer along for several episodes before you drop an eighteenth of the picture is what made the reboot of Knight Rider fucking terrible. Nobody likes Madoka for the crazy fucking circus in the background, they like it for Kyubey and the girls turning into witches. Now Oreshura on the other hand, this is just force-fed garbage I’m pretty certain I’ll be dropping halfway in, or ignoring until the show completes and I can batch. I’m just not buying the shoehorning of several beaten tropes and story ideas into characters with such little depth to them. Eita has no redeeming qualities and hardly passes for a Mizutani, Kodaka, or Houtarou, all of whom his character seems to draw power from, and Masuzu makes a poor Yozora or Nibutani knock off. Her entire blackmail position is weak and flavorless, and it makes Eita, who seems to had his balls in order before she showed up, just helpless like a baby. Shoehorning the “chuuni” bullshit in just really grinded my gears on this one, because while I enjoyed Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, it just seems forced in this context, for both Eita and Himeka. It’s simply too much harem and not enough substance, and if you like harem shows, and I normally do, then you have no worry, but I think I expected more from this show, and it just missed the marks.
No new Initial D yet, but once I get it, I’ll get to reviewing it.
In other news, as mentioned in the Katsucon post, I acquired Tenchi Universe over the weekend and can not get back to the Tenchi classic review I started a month or so ago. As it is a 26 episode series, I am breaking the review into two posts, episodes 1-13 and 14-26. Once complete, I will have a third and final post on the movie Tenchi-Muyo: In Love. I do not plan to review the second or third movies, or Tenchi in Tokyo, because they’re shit. I will however possibly do GXP if I acquire it in the future, and also Pretty Sammy. After that, we’ll flip for the next show to get a classic review, possibly Outlaw Star, since someone’s mention of Cowboy Bebop recently got me thinking about one of the best science fiction space pirate series of all time.
Until then, see you, space cowboy.