Last batch for now, seeing as I’ve already started my secondary project of watching all the anime from this year I missed out on due to moving/classes/work/Overwatch. Seems like it’s been a pretty good season so far. A few disappointments, most notably All Out, but most of what I had pinned some hopes on have delivered.
March Comes in Like a Lion
This may be a controversial opinion, but I liked this a lot more than what I read of the manga. OK some of my issues remain, such it not really having a hook early on and little idea as to what the story is even supposed to be about. But it turns out I still totally have a thing for the way Shinbo directs anime. The entire opening sequence with the use of silence and colour was fantastic. Plus all the little visual comedic gags were genuinely funny, and the choice to give the cats whiny voices was inspired. Since about 2009-ish Shinbo seems to have been able to translate his directorial style into actually telling the story rather than its own sake. My problem more often has been crappy and/or pedophillic source material.
As for the story itself, I do remain unconvinced. I like some of the character dynamics they’re setting up and how things came to be, but gosh darn does it move slowly. I guess Shinbo couldn’t be enticed into speeding up the pacing with the adaptation. Granted the story is constructed to be deliberately slow-paced, but that can still be a touch boring sometimes to slog through, especially when you have no idea what this is supposed to be leading up to. Perhaps it’s something that makes more sense as the story progresses? Either way, I’m in for the long haul.
Girlish Number is a lot like Shirobako in the sense that it’s a no-holds-barred look at the anime industry and what goes on behind the scenes. However where as Shirobako took an occasional cynical viewpoint but was one ultimately of hope and belief, Girlish Number amps that cynicism up twenty times over. It’s full of people muttering under their breath about how stupid the voice acting industry is, bitching about their co-workers, and making a mockery of the thought process that goes into creating an anime. It’s as though half of the cast is the people in that meeting in Shirobako about which voice actors should star in their upcoming anime.
It’s somewhat refreshing and I certainly enjoy the trend of there being more anime like Shirobako, although I will also admit I am not quite yet sold on it. Some of the characters. particularly the sweet voiced friend of our main character, feel weirdly out of place. So too do the character designs and general cutesy aesthetic. You could argue that it’s supposed to be ironic, but doing something ironically has the same impact as doing something not ironically so I’m not buying that. But so far I like what it’s doing and am entertaining the thought process of watching this anime production collapse. The one in show that is, not Girlish Number itself. Although that would be the ultimate meta joke.
Kiss Him Not Me
I really do hate this thing. It’s gone from “hey this is all right” to “fire this accursed thing into the sun” in my mind since I read the manga, and the anime only amplifies those feelings. Which is a shame because it still has good things about it. The main character remains thoroughly entertaining with her wild fantasies and fujo-face whenever she sees two guys. However I just hate the setup for this story so much. Hey girls, starve yourself half to death and somehow you won’t turn out a gaunt, skeletal figure but instead a buxom beautiful woman. All the hot guys will fall for you now too.
The guys are such fucking bland boring twats too, being all these gormless fuckfaces who apparently all want to bone the main girl, which is itself a weird message. Take up anorexia and all those guys who wouldn’t look twice at you are now raring to go, and you’re supposed to be happy about this. The fact that her voice goes from pudgy grumble to dainty petal makes it even dumber. It’s not even about fat-shaming, although that’s certainly part of it. Being fit for the sake of your health and possible improvement for your romantic life is all fine and dandy, but not through the methods ascribed here. I know some people will claim don’t take comedy too seriously, but I say no! Comedy is serious business! Watamote is the anime of the decade and you are all wrong now go away.
The Great Passage
While watching The Great Passage I had two realisations: That its subject matter of building a dictionary is one I find incredibly tedious as it gets down into the nitty-gritty of exact definitions that I find quite boring, and that it actually did a great job of making me somewhat interested in that subject. The moment that kind of did it for me was the main character, when quizzed about the definition of “right”, asked whether they meant the direction or political affiliation, then proceeded to logically cancel out what other ways of defining it don’t work. It demonstrated that the show in question knew its own subject material and had a way to convey how the character’s thought processes went without them feeling like weird leaps in logic.
It did make me think what a tough job the translators will probably have with this. The wording is exacting on a completely different level to even the likes of the Monogatari series. There are turns of phrase that don’t exactly translate word-for-word between languages that in other anime you could just translate the closest meaning. But with this you have to use the exact word because of the subject matter. It makes me respect what kind of job the translators have….which makes me sad that nobody is going to watch it as it’s on Amazon where it hasn’t been advertised and nobody is going to search it out because it’s not some big hyped thing like Kabaneri was.