Yesterday, 4 new anime aired in Japan. 2 Noitamina, one Shaft and one JC Staff doing thar’ thang. Writing 4 posts about each episode today alone would be next to impossible, so I was going to crowd them into one post. But seeing as I could easily write 1000 words on [C] alone, that would overshadow everything else I have to say about the other anime. So here is Ano Hana, Denpa Onna and Hidan no Aria, leaving me to rave about [C] at a later time.
JC Staff. You really aren’t even trying anymore, are you? I’m not even talking about producing a show I actually like. That hasn’t happened since Nodame Cantabile and I’ve pretty much given up on you in that respect. It’s just these Shakugan no Shana clones you’ve been putting out for the past few years have gotten almost silly in their repetition at this point. You’d think after having made this many they’d be getting self-referential at this point, and sure this show tries to be self-referential, but saying “ooh, this is like something out of an anime” doesn’t bloody count. Pointing out what you are doing does not constitute as humour. Not that this episode is trying to be primarily a parody. It’s the same light action romance comedy anime that you’ve all seen before. Shakugan no Shana, Index & Railgun, Zero no whatever, Merry Dream Eater. Maybe toss in a few similar series except without the action like Toradora, Hayate or Ookami-san. Like all the above series, Aria isn’t actively bad or anything, just so damn same-y.
There are 3 kinds of Shaft anime. The bizarro comedy, where the animation and artwork goes totally bonkers, such as Maria Holic, Pani Poni Dash or Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. There’s the other end of the spectrum, the deadly serious Shaft, a rather rare breed only ever really seen with Madoka Magica and ef, but the animation here is also pretty bonkers and all over the place. In the middle lie their strange romantic comedies. Here is where their animation style calms down finally (with the exception of Bakemonogatari). Here lies the likes of Arakawa and Natsu no Arashi. Here is where Denpa Onna lies.
So where does this lie in the sliding scale of Shaft anime? For now, I give it a tentative thumbs up. Shinbo, being the big pedo that he is, still has a fascination with young girls with their short skirts and ever so shiny legs, which gets on my nerves, but it’s otherwise cleverly written. The dialogue flows well and some genuinely funny scenes in amongst it all. The sheer strangeness of the female character works as humour in of itself, even if the male lead is about a bleh meh generic as you can get, simply surviving on the strength of the script he’s given and not his characterisation. I think the quality of the show depends how they handle the plot that showed up in this episode. There’s a story about a neglected child in here that looks fascinating and was cleverly introduced in this episode, but it depends on whether that’s what the anime wants to tackle. I think with the likes of Bakemonogatari, Arakawa and Natsu no Arashi that Shaft have proven they are interested in tackling the plots of these sorts of anime. Just don’t expect anything from the prospective second season.
Also the op argh argh argh my ears argh argh the pain argh argh. It sounds like someone took a 12 year old girl off the street, stamped on her toe repeatedly and then recorded that over what could have otherwise been a decent song.
Sure does suck being right all the time.
I knew Ano Hana was going to be like this. I know this director. He did the second season of Honey and Clover and Toradora. This guy loves melodrama and this was his chance to direct an original anime project so there was no way in hell he would do anything other than lay on the melodrama as thick as he possibly could. This episode was almost oppressive in the amount of melodrama it packed in. And that sort of stuff does absolutely nothing for me.
I don’t care. I guess other people must instantly care about people in sad situations, but I don’t. I’m an evil heartless prick who couldn’t give a shit. I like Hanasaku Iroha, which has its bits of melodrama, but that show is more interested in having good writing than effecting me emotionally. Ano Hana wants to tug at our heartstrings first and foremost and I just don’t want any of that. But I also recognise that I am the minority when it comes to this viewpoint. Look at the popularity of Key anime for an example of that. If you like Air and Kanon and the like, Ano Hana is for you. But it sure as hell isn’t for me.