Monthly Roundups are back, bitches!
I retired the monthly roundups in June last year because I was unhappy with the format. The short paragraphs meant I was essentially just listing the currently airing anime in order of how much I liked them, which doesn’t provide much in the way of meaningful writing. But I still wanted a way to write short pieces on current airing anime I like or don’t like outside of episodics that don’t require an entire post of their own. With that in mind, I stripped down the format to that most basic of premises. Plus that means I get to bring in Shinmaru and Inushinde, although we all know you’re just here to read what I have to say because I’m the most intelligent and charming and handsome of the three.
Scamp: Hataraku Maou-sama
I agonised over this for a bit, because I didn’t want to write about Gargantia when I’m already blogging it, and none of the other anime this season have been been firing on all cylinders. But I want to give Maou-sama credit for being a sort of s’life show that’s not about teenagers and doesn’t have an idyllic view of life. It’s a story about immigrants struggling to find their feet in a new society, working up from the bottom rung. Plus it has a great sense of humour, likable characters and solid dialogue. I’m a bit wary after episode 4 heaped on the drama and sent the plot trudging towards more generic fantasy, but the writing has been consistently good until now so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Shinmaru: Space Battleship Yamato 2199
No new episodes came out in April, but the show started airing on TV, so there you go! I didn’t think any series could challenge JoJo as my favorite of the year, but Yamato 2199 is coming damn close. Everything about the series is pitch perfect: It’s gorgeous (and the CG is good enough that it’s not ugly or obtrusive), the characters are interesting and well-balanced (it’s so tough to juggle a cast this large), and the world building is solid. The most impressive part to me, however, is that Yamato 2199 constantly throws out episodes that advance the main story while also being interesting standalone episodes. I could watch any episode and immediately get into it, but they’re also all integral to the overall plot. That’s truly impressive work. Yamato 2199 is smart, introspective and emotional, but also exciting and adventurous. I should have been watching this from the start, and you should be watching it right now.
Inushinde: Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
Of all the dumb comedy offerings this season, Muromi-san is one that I didn’t expect I’d actually anticipate week to week. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t ask more than fifteen minutes of your time, more if you loop the opening a few times like I do, or maybe it’s because of decent comic timing that’s impossible to see in most anime, but something about it just works where other comedy offerings flop and die. Compared to Nyaruko-san that thinks so little of its audience that it pads itself with jokes about how it’s padding itself, and Hayate Cuties that… well, is Hayate Cuties, Muromi-san doesn’t try to insult your intelligence by assuming that you’re a brain-damaged magpie that needs a constant barrage of glittery objects to be entertained. It respects me, not by pandering to my sensibilities, but by having a mermaid get her rocks off by swimming into a group of stinging jellyfish.
What’s Not so Hot
Scamp: Valvrave the Liberator
I’ve had a bunch of people saying “since you love Code Geass, you must love Valvrave right”. I’m used to you plebs not understanding why shows like Geass or, for a more recent example Future Diary, are great, but let’s explain it again shall we. In Geass and Future Diary, the twists were ridiculous and required some ignoring of real-world common sense, but they kept to a theme and advanced the story while fitting in with the characters’ motivations while also being so crazy and out-there they were hilariously brilliant. In Valvrave, the characters are boring and flat. L-Elf suddenly deciding to make Valvrave attack his friends made fuck-all sense. More importantly, the twists come at the expense of entertainment and are wearingly cliche, such as the main character not being able to confess his love. For christ sake, we’re in an inter-planetary war with giant robots but apparently the part we’re really supposed to care about is whether our potato-on-a-stick lead will confess to his silly highschool crush? Wait no, I’m sorry. Vampire potato-on-a-stick.
Shinmaru: Space Brothers
This isn’t solely because most of Space Brothers’ April offerings have been recaps due to its move to a new time slot (though that certainly didn’t help at all). After the excellent arc with Hibito on the moon, Space Brothers has gone back to its usual plodding pace, except this time around little of interest has occurred other than new openings and endings. I try not to make hyperbolic statements like this, but I don’t think I’ve cared about a single thing in this new arc. I’m holding on mainly because whenever I am close to dropping Space Brothers, it always seems to come back with an awesome arc that reminds me how good the series can be. So I’m continuing, but it’s not fun right now! Maybe if Mutta gets pneumonia.
Inushinde: Dansuck Bunri Crime Edge
It was tough to think of a show that I’m particularly disappointed in for being worse than expected. I like almost everything from this season that I should, and dislike everything that deserves to be scorned. I think this is the first time that I’ve ever disliked a show for not being awful enough, but here it is: Dansai Bunri Crime Edge sucks because it’s not bad enough. Mediocrity almost seems like an insult for something that takes its goofy premise as seriously as this, because it means that someone somewhere decided that kids flailing at each other with syringes and scissors was less exciting than kids eating. Leave it to a light novel adaptation to make a story about psychopaths boring.