There are loads of great anime this season. More airing at one time than I can remember in my anime viewing life. So much so that couldn’t decide which one to start praising first and my natural instincts took over. As the adrenaline kicked in I started typing furiously at a keyboard and suddenly realized all I had done was write about Aldnoah Fucking Zero.
I have some weird fascination with this show and how it does things wrong in what ways. It’s not the same kind of outright bad like a Guilty Crown where it’s just all bad all the time. Aldnoah Zero is bad in specific ways that contrast with its good bits in a way that only puts the bad parts in even starker relief. This is most notably the case with the two lead characters, Slaine and Inaho. The debates around Aldnoah Zero mostly centre around which of the two people prefer. People’s choices tell you a lot about what they prefer in stories and I am going to tell you why if you think Inaho is the better character you are Wrong.
I am generally a pretty forgiving man. It probably comes from me living in the UK for too long, but someone could bump into me on the street, then turn around and punch me in the face, spit on my crotch, take a dump in my bag then use my laptop to download both seasons of Sword Art Online and strap me into one of those chairs used in Clockwork Orange and got me to watch it all, and I would probably still apologise like it was my fault. However even I must take a step back and be slightly amazed at Ryogo Narita’s powers of forgiveness when it comes to mass murderers. It started with the Rail Tracer from Baccano, a charming young man which did little to hide the fact he as a nutcase who routinely murdered people on his train by crushing their face against the tracks. Now we have Ruri, a spacey idol for whom her attempts to recreate the world of Hotline Miami in Tokyo did little to dissuade Narita for forgiving her and giving her a new lease on life. Remember kids, you’re not evil so long as you’re attractive.
Thank you, Death Parade, for making that subtitle possible. You’ll always be a 10/10 in my heart just for this reason.
As of three episodes in, Death Parade has proven itself extremely capable of using the unexpected to great effect. With that said, sometimes “unexpected” isn’t a good enough criterion for something to make an impact, especially when the expectations to subvert are an unknown quantity. A man thinking that a childhood friend is another childhood friend with plastic surgery, and loving her anyway despite the case of mistaken identity, doesn’t un-unknown that quantity. Read More
If nothing else, David Production has done an incredible job absolutely nailing these comedy battles in Stardust Crusaders. First it was The Sun, where the creative team stretched a short fight into a full episode of anime and kept it interesting the whole time. Now, they totally nail and enhance the tone of this ridiculous scenario, to the point where it’s the first time in a while I was actually disappointed to see that a battle is one episode rather than two. Not that I have any issue with the good pacing, mind.
Always remember the sacrifices of those brave men and women who took it upon themselves to use their toys to defend our world against alien technology that went out of control. They are the true heroes.
Finally the start of the tournament is upon us, though it’s nothing too exciting just yet. I kind of enjoyed that the episode fed the most generic looking team possible at Team Try Fighters since everyone probably knew they’d walk over the first group they faced. Even the platitudes (they finished in the top eight the year before!) and the opponent powers (TRANS-AM!!!!!) couldn’t mask the inevitable curb stomping. The “Its basic performance is superior to mine in Trans-Am!” moment is pretty priceless. That’s what you get for entering a tournament without being featured characters beforehand. Even that guy whose name nobody can remember is likely to advance at least ONE round.
Pacing is a different beast from anime to manga. In manga you control the pacing. You can spend however long you want staring at a beautiful landscape shot, while zooming past boring exposition as you wish. It rips control away from the creators though and means they can’t rely on them being able to hit the key beats at the timing they want. You can do some tricks with page turning but it’s never quite as effective as it would be in motion. Comic timing, dramatic pauses and things like that don’t work as well in a static format.
This is the reasoning I’ve come up with for why I am so ruddy bored with them endlessly repeating the same thematic point of Shinichi’s humanity over and over while I never had any problem with that in the manga. I guess I must have just sped through that content in the manga. I remember the female characters being a load of poop and I also remember the end getting a bit preachy with its messages. I don’t remember it being this repetitive.
Last week Durarara spent its first episode reminding us who all these characters were, to which I responded with “oh yeah I remember all these nutcases” and most other people responded with “I don’t know what the fuck is going on or who these people are help me”. This week they set about reminding us why we liked this show in the first place as the gears of this latest batshit story are set in motion as a series of characters appear on screen while we go “oh yeah that guy, what’s his name again”. It would help if the subtitles translated each character’s name in the OP like they did for last season. There’s only so many times I can refer to people as Izaya’s Sisters or Shinra’s Dad or New Dollars Member or That Guy Who Hangs Out With Erika And Walker Who Drives The Truck But Never Really Says Anything.