Before we jump into a monthly roundup, I was in a book! Lauren Orsini of Otaku Journalist wrote a book Build Your Own Anime Blog with a load of interviews from prominent anime bloggers and me (doh ho ho self deprecating wit). It’s a pretty sizable old read there with tons of interesting stuff from what I’ve read so far. Like really quite large with some really quite fascinating people interviewed. If you read that and don’t instantly start a successful anime blog then I would be shocked. Or at the very least read if for my part and learn all about The Cart Driver Dot Com and the people behind it. It’s available on Amazon Kindle if you are interested.
Anyway, on with the monthly roundup.
Scamp: Code Geass
I have been really impressed by this latest Sunrise mecha offering. It’s so refreshing to have a character as distinct as Lelouch leading a show like this as his pompous attitude and grandstanding feats give this show an added highly entertaining edge. Suzaku wouldn’t have been quite as interesting a character in his own right if not for being able to contrast him with Lelouch. The holier than thou, ‘correct’ method of combating injustice is the kind of thing your usual shounen mecha protagonist would do but to see the flaws compared to how Lelouch does things makes them interesting. The show might indeed be completely nuts, obsessed with plot twists to the point that it’s almost funny how every episode must, by law, end on a giant cliffhanger. However behind all that is a truly well written anime that leans into its more grandiose tone with dialogue to match.
…what do you mean Code Geass isn’t airing this season?
Shinmaru: Sound! Euphonium
I write about Blood Blockade Battlefront and JoJo every week, so let’s go with an anime from this season that I didn’t expect to be enjoying as much as I am. I’m not musically inclined in the least, nor was I really part of a crowd that was way into concert band when I was in high school, so this is a foreign world to me. Euphonium makes it feel familiar, however, because the characters are so well realized in their own ways. You’ve got the people who want to screw around with their friends, the people who are serious, those who aren’t sure what they want, those who are going with the flow, etc. (Kumiko, who wants a fresh start but ends up getting dragged into the same old scene, is particularly relatable.) I feel like Euphonium captures the warmth and energy of this particular group of people even when it seems like everything is screwed up and nobody is on the same page (getting teenagers on the same page has to be a horrifying job). It also helps that Euphonium is a super gorgeous show. Even if I liked nothing else, I’d watch this series simply for the framing of every shot.
Inushinde: Sound! Euphonium
Well shit, KyoAni has really been on it the past few shows. The second season of Free turned out to be a mature exploration of ambition and limitation, Amagi Brilliant Park was a decent enough comedy that hit the right notes more often than not, and Sound Euphonium is looking to follow in their footsteps as more than an unhealthy fixation on high school life, while still capturing the essence of the variety of high schoolers that can take part in a particular activity, and how the sheer mind-boggling array of different personalities can clash when trying to organize them into one cohesive unit. It isn’t my favorite show of the season, but it continues KyoAni’s trend of being more generally alright than usual. And in that context, it’s more than notable enough.
What’s not so Hot
Scamp: Ninja Slayer From Animation
I had a number of candidates for Not So Hot, but they were all basically even and I couldn’t pick one that stood out, so in the end I went for the weird Trigger thing. In a world where Inferno Cop didn’t exist, maybe Ninja Slayer would have been funnier, but even so I feel they’ve done it poorly. It’s neither hilariously shitty enough to be funny nor garish enough to capture the dumb aesthetic properly. The shitty animation doesn’t lean on hilariously bad side enough to be funny on that side. I feel it would have been funnier if it jumped from genuinely amazing to absolute garbage. I get that it’s supposed to be a parody of what westerners thought anime was in the 90s but I don’t feel it’s working. Not only that but the latest episode seems to imply they’re turning into more of an anime anime, which is the worst direction it could have gone in. I thought perhaps I had exaggerated how good Inferno Cop was so I went back and watched the first episode. Then rewatched the whole thing. Inferno Cop is still amazing.
Shinmaru: Seraph of the End
I have weird feelings about this show. Most of my enjoyment of it right now is coming from how earnestly unsubtle it is about plowing through the usual growth processes in a series like this. After getting scooped up by a group of humans following a few years in Vampire Central, the MC wants to contribute to the effort to kill all those dirty vamps. But before he’s allowed to join the team, he’s gotta go to school to learn how to make friends and engage in wacky high school hijinks (so he can work better in a group, presumably) and learn empathy (so that a demon he may make a contract with doesn’t consume him due to all the RAGE he harbors). It … sort of makes sense, but I just can’t get over that a whole school was constructed for this purpose (and other things, too, I guess). In a way, it’s actually kind of cute.
It’s just too bad I don’t really care about the vampires (BBB’s vamps are already way more interesting) or any of the other drama to come (shock of shocks, the best friend who got killed in the first episode is still alive and is a ~VAMPIRE~), so I’ll probably get bored and drop the show if/when it becomes a more straightforward series. I just needed to write about that darn school.
Inushinde: Denpa Kyoushi
I remember reading the first few chapters of the Denpa Kyoushi manga a few years back and feeling put off for reasons that I couldn’t quite articulate. But now I realize that Denpa Kyoushi is what happens when you take Great Teacher Onizuka, and sap the charm and humanity from all of the characters. It would almost come across as spiteful toward itself and the world at large, were it to display any sort of self awareness, and greater comedic sensibilities than a lump of clay with clinical depression. The lack of character is also a sort of mixed blessing, in that nobody is remotely fleshed out enough to be treated like shit by the show, even if, again, the comedy couldn’t fall flatter. And I mean look at that image, that’s fucking horrible, even for a throwaway shot. Nobody ever associated with this property gave a shit, and you shouldn’t either.