December was a crazy month. Between 12 days, secret santa reviews, and the final year in review, there’s been barely time to watch the anime before even getting the chance to write about it. I’ve got a Code Geass and Ghost in the Shell OVA sitting on my laptop as I write this. Come to think of it, why am I sitting here writing about this when I could be watching Code Geass? brb
Scamp: Monogatari Series Second Season
Thanks to me starting a new job this month and with my free time taken up with those fucking 12 days posts and year in review content, I’ve only had time to keep up with the two anime I was blogging this season. Thankfully one of those anime did really well this month and the other was bad (oh dear, showing my hand for not so hot already). Monogatari produced an arc consisting mostly of Kaiki speaking to Senjogahara in an awkward alliance of convenience governed by emotions that are never truly enunciated that lie over everything they say. They have such a brilliant back and forth because the two of them can hold their own with each other and poke holes in each other’s arguments. Combine this with Nadeko suddenly becoming a fascinating character and you have possibly the best arc of Monogatari to date. Fantastic way to finish out this fantastic series.
There were some grumblings about Kyousougiga’s final few episodes going big rather than keeping the focus on the family affairs that it had portrayed so well to that point, but I think the ending showed it never abandoned that. It simply expanded the scope to show that even the almighty being who created this world and many of its denizens could be struck by the same fears and inadequacies felt by his adopted family and others. How better to show a god’s anxiety than the world he created coming apart at the seams? There’s definitely stuff that flew over my head — same as the rest of the series, really — but the thrust of the core story never confused me. On top of that, the series is as beautiful as ever. Many of the individual shots on the moon are stunning. Kyousougiga has such a fantastic sense of composition that enhances its beautiful art. What a great show.
Inushinde: Monogatari Series Second Season
I haven’t been terribly vocal on my feelings toward the second season, partially because my energy has been diverted by shows that I’m actually writing on, and partially because I’d veer between seething frustration and being completely ensnared by the show like the sucker that I am. Kaiki was my favourite character from Nisemonogatari, though that was more for his potential as a villain than anything that the show actually did to flesh him out. Second Season’s decision to frame an entire arc from his perspective, where his compulsion to double-cross essentially makes him play into both Senjougahara and Gaen’s plans, fleshes him out greatly. I really appreciate what the arc did in service to both his character and that of Nadeko, both of whom play into others’ expectations by doing what they can to subvert them. It’s simply wonderful.
What’s not so hot
Scamp: Samurai Flamenco
Already tipped my hand on this, but Samurai Flamenco has happily jumped straight from my last month’s hot to this month’s not so hot. Which I kinda saw coming after the baffling Guillotine Gorilla twist, but what made it really bad was how terrible the arc they jumped into was. Even leaving aside how inexplicable the switch in tone was, the new arc with King Torture was just bad. Stupid villain, needless twists, characters acting stupid for stupids sake, and a nice big heaping of uncomfortable misogyny. The new arc at least looks more entertaining but it has also succeeding in completely killing my emotional attachment to anything in the show. In a world where anything can happen, nothing is surprising.
Shinmaru: I Wanna Be the Strongest in the World
God, what a piece of garbage. I don’t really like going on mean-spirited tirades against shows anymore, because I’d rather spend my time writing about stuff I like and want other people to see, but shows like this make it tough. Sometimes my curiosity likes to play horrible tricks on me. From the start, this series makes no bones about its goals: you’ve got crotch shots aplenty and women in submission holds for minutes on end. Only a fool would not know what they’re getting into. But because I am a special sort of fool, I couldn’t help but be mildly intrigued by the novelty of a modern pro wrestling anime. Would it be sort of maybe worth watching on that front? The answer: not in the least. You know why most pro wrestling organizations don’t have matches that feature submission holds that go on forever? Because it’s boring!! Nobody wants to see that!! Nobody would ever go to a show thinking “Boy, I hope the main event has someone in a Camel Clutch for five minutes, that would be awesome!” I am angry at myself for wasting my Sunday mornings watching this.
Inushinde: Galilei Donna
That finale. Dear god that finale. Before that point, Galilei Donna was mostly treading water, but still generally being consistently watchable– not exactly the most compelling piece of entertainment, but it at least adhered to its own brand of logic. The courtroom finale not only threw my remaining goodwill into a trash compactor, but proceeded to completely shit over everything that the series had done before. Formerly important characters are rendered useless (Hazuki doesn’t do shit), plot points are disregarded without a second thought (the mother’s amnesia wasn’t actually real but she still testified against her daughters), and it manages to be an unsatisfactory, rushed end to what was an unsatisfactory, rushed show. Don’t misunderstand, it’s compulsively watchable, much more so than when it had pretensions toward being good, but this is an example of not all attention being good attention.