If I didn’t write a full first impressions post on an anime airing this season, that doesn’t mean I didn’t watch it. I am a machine who watches everything apart from sequels I didn’t like or hadn’t seen the first season of, or kiddy shows (and even then, that Suzy’s Zoo torrent is calling out to me). If I didn’t write a post, that’s generally because I found I didn’t have enough to say about it to warrant one. But I still want to get my thoughts out on some of those anime that aired this season, so that’s what we have here.
Note that most of these impressions will be negative. Poor anime are hard to write that much about compared to good anime or dreadful anime.
Tame, lame and offensively inoffensive, Dog Days goes so out of its way to produce nothing of worth that its own uninspired fluffyness becomes the main talking point. The dialogue lacks any purpose, which makes the characters also come off as almost too embarrassed by their own generic personality to put any of it into what they say. It has all the weight of a styrofoam dumbbell. Call me back if it turns out that, because Shinku (very English name that) was transported to their kingdom, people now die when they are killed.
While not quite as offensively inoffensive as Dog Days, Sengoku Otome had this same aura of safe, uninspired and bland. It’s just…there. People do stuff and make no attempt at making it stand out. I could call it well-executed, and that’s not untrue. Nothing in this episode comes off as mistimed nor poorly directed. But it’s not exactly difficult to send a strawberry to execution. It’s not going to fight back. If you try execute a dragon, you may get burned, but the resulting viewing will still be massively entertaining and far more rewarding if it’s pulled off successfully. Executing a strawberry may still give you some red liquid splashes, but it’s a false entertainment that leaves you entirely unsatisfied. Also, this metaphor has gone on too long and has probably left my readers baffled.
Kaiji Season 2
Look, it’s Kaiji. Their noses are still massive. It still moves at the pace of a stampeding tortoise. The narrator is still unusually excited about Kaiji eating a bag of peanuts. The mangaka still can’t draw women and I would have preferred it if he never drew women again argh argh the ending song argh argh my eyes argh. It’s a show that you’ve got to allow yourself to be drawn into to enjoy, something I never quite got the hang of during the first season. But as much as I like to mock it, Kaiji is still a fun show. It just infuriates me sometimes.
If I hadn’t read the manga for this, I’d had come in here frothing at the mouth, raging over the cancer that is killing the anime industry and so on and so forth. But because I knew what to expect, my temper was deflated somewhat by the time I actually watched the blasted thing. It’s still better than the manga. The little directorial touches make it stand above the pen and paper version, such as the swoosh sound of the baseball bat making it sound like a samurai sword, along with all the other reasons anime > better than manga (it moves, it’s in colour, it talks). But this is still a mixture of cuteness for the sake of cuteness passed off as humour alongside some other heartfelt scenes of girls being insufferably nice to each other. The entire shows purpose does feel like giving the viewing plenty of opportunities to don their yuri goggle and pretend these oversized heads attached to 6-year old bodies are fisting each other behind the scenes. To be fair, you hardly need the yuri goggles to see that.
Physical Education for 30 Year Olds
As a commentary on how rigorous Japanese censorship destroys what could have been useful sexual information for inexperienced individuals, that wasn’t half bad. Although I do have the feeling that wasn’t what this show was aiming to be…
If it was a story about a group of editors for a shojo manga publication, this might have made a pretty decent foil to Bakuman. But Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi is not about that. This is really about the romance as cynical bishie A tries to forget everything about love until mysterious bishie B starts to remind him of it again by forcefully kissing him to provide drawing material for a shojo manga artist who just happened to be nearby. By the way, shouldn’t he have been a little bit more annoyed that another character just shoved his tongue down his throat with no warning and little introduction? It was more like there was a check list the producers were working off that they had to crowbar in to keep the viewers attention. “We’ve had too little butsex, let’s throw in a flashback to one now!”. The trappings of its genre pulls down a potentially interesting story about a publishing company, but somehow I doubt the target audience for this show were particularly interested in how well their latest serial did in the sales.
Why oh why Go Nagai? This is certainly the ‘best’ adaptation of his work I’ve seen, but that’s certainly not saying much. This was dumb, boorish, disconnected, unfunny and utterly pointless drivel. Scenes leap from one tone and direction to another without warning nor reasoning. The jokes were funny in how unfunny they were. I was certainly quite amused by the pauses they gave me to laugh during, because it made me realise what they had said before that was meant to be funny (hint: it wasn’t). I thought maybe it would have some nice fluid animation to make it worth watching, but beyond some nice fire animation, that wasn’t there either. Or maybe I’ve just been ruined by Panty and Stocking and was expecting similarly beautifully animated penis jokes. In fact, that’s the best way to describe this. Take Panty and Stocking, drop the animation quality substantially, get rid of the cutting wit, the awesome music and the parodies and your left with a dumb show about people defeating demons and toilet jokes. Ta-da~! You have Dororon Enma-kun.
Hen Zemi TV
That was pretty lame compared to the OVA. The OVA had a format that worked. Take two characters and have them talk with each other about some bizarre sexual perversion. It was simple but worked due to its honesty. This didn’t do that at all. The segments had no direction to them and was just random discussion of whatever the hell was on the characters mind. Plus what sort of sexual perversions were they on about anyway. Growing maggots in your ear is a sexual perversion now? Come on now Hen Zemi, get back to what made the OVA work.