Nothing particularly newsworthy happened this month in the world of anime. Well, except that I bought Baccano wooh!
*cough* OK, anime ratings time.
It’s not necessarily that Steins;Gate has gotten better. People are too susceptible to going crazy when big plot twists go down, to the point that they don’t notice that these latest episodes haven’t been quite as well directed and paced as some of the earlier ones. Well, maybe that’s unfair. Episodes 12-13 were about the same level of quality as most of the rest of the series. The A- grade is for the realisation why Steins;Gate did all that development in the first half of the series. Talk about the careful build up of tension throughout the series, Steins;Gate has been fucking marvellous at that. Let’s see if the second half can deliver on its promises.
A- The Borrower Arrietty
Whether I enjoy a Ghibli or not comes down to where I am, what time it is, am I in the right mood, are the stars aligned correctly, did I have a bowel of cereal this morning, and so on. Basically, my enjoyment of a Ghibli is so erratic that trying to pin down why I like Arrietty that much more compared to other Ghibli flicks is difficult. Arrietty is my new second favourite Ghibli flick, after Porco Rosso. Sure I laughed at all the standard Ghibli tropes, like the perfect female lead, the rising hairdos when the characters get shocked, and the strong environmental message. But at least this time they realised that writing isn’t the strong point of Ghibli flicks, so they kept the plot as simple as possible, focusing mainly on giving us a wonderfully directed film that is so easy to sink into. Also having a simple plot means it doesn’t have the usual sucky Ghibli ending. Boy, I’ve sure said the word ‘Ghibli’ a lot in this paragraph.
B Break Blade
There’s a part at the back of my mind, clamouring for attention when I think about Break Blade. It tries to point out the awful plot, the randomly introduced characters that we are given no time to care about before they are lopped off, and the war’s politics are so vague that I barely know who’s fighting who. However, this more critical part of my mind is generally silenced by the other, much larger part of my brain that shouts “GIANT ROBOTS, GLORIOUS BATTLES, QUEEN SIGYN’S RADIANT ASS” so generally my other half of my brain just skulks off to rewatch Berserk or Mushishi or something.
B Fireball Charming
As much as I like the improved animation and Drossels new character design, I’m going to have to admit that Fireball Season 1 > Fireball Charming. Yes, Fireball Charming did try to mix things up a bit, but it seemed to forget to make jokes at times. Plus there were no stand out moments of comedic brilliance. Fireball had the invisible maids and the canned laughter. The best moment in Fireball Charming was Drossels monocycle spinning jump over Gedachtnis, and that was the animation that was brilliant, not the joke. Still a fantastic series, but season 1 was better.
B- Kaiji Season 2
Not the best Kaiji has been, mainly because it’s not focusing on Kaiji being awesome. It’s not Kaiji doing the gambling. It’s been the other guy he’s settled in with, trying to take down The Bog. But ultimately, it’s still Kaiji. Noses still are massive. Men are still crying everywhere. The narrator still can’t keep it in his pants. And the background is still filled with nonstop zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa zawa.
B- [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
You know, I think I’ll just copypaste my final lines from my episode 11 episodic post
Characters with well-developed motivations but near non-existent personalities. Great animation quirks but with horrible CGI characters that don’t mesh well with the scenery. Fantastic ideas with it’s setting, but pulling methods of solving issues out of nowhere. Intense fight scenes that make not an ounce of sense. [C] was far from a waste of time to watch. But it had several glaring flaws that prevent it from ever being held up as an example of an anime that Did It Right.
B- Tiger and Bunny
On one hand, I was glad to see Tiger and Bunny ramp up the tension and bring the plot to the fore. More importantly, the buddy cop relationship between Tiger and Bunny actually feels natural now (‘natural’ in this instance meaning OMG BL VIBES EVERYWHERE). Unfortunately this improvement was balanced out in equal measures by introducing a sucky villain. Nope, didn’t like Jake. Never liked Jake. Don’t like that sort of character. They’re not fun, nor scheming, nor frightening. He was just a bit of a jackass really. The kind of person who, if you knew them in real life, you’d simply ignore them and not give them the time of day to inflate their ego. He’s a brat, and brats aren’t fun to watch.
B- Hanasaku Iroha
The ‘Ohana to Tokyo’ arc was the best Hanasaku Iroha has ever been. It brought to head her pouting and indecisiveness over Kou, serving to actually develop her character instead of being a goofy, happy-go-lucky genki girl. It also answered the question of why Kou and her mummy issues weren’t as important to her as they once were (without spoiling, it’s a change in her own priorities). Most importantly though, it brought back Ohana’s mum, who is far and away the best character in the show. Imagine if every abandoned children in anime had parents as awesome as this, yet they were kept off screen for the entirety of the show? Think of all the anime could have been saved by an Ohana’s mum character.
C+ Blue Exorcist
Look Blue Exorcist. I like that you don’t do what some other shounens do. That you don’t have incredibly long, drawn out fights where both characters stare at each other across the room, explaining their powers and having internal monologues before finally having 30 seconds of intense action before going back to explaining the moves they have just done and having even more internal monologues. I like that you’ve centred in on and emphasised the relationship between the two brothers (OMG MORE BL VIBES). But for christ sake, that beach episode was retarded. I’d like to see the plot appear sometimes soon.
Dropped. Beautifully animated with fantastic music and ingenious ways of shooting each scene, but for what? Jokes that make not an ounce of sense. In fact, I refuse to call them jokes. Jokes have meaning. They have a punchline. They make some sort of sense instead of being random for the sake of random. I give up on you Nichijou. I wanted to like you. I wanted a moe Cromartie High School. And yes, you had the occasional moment of brilliance. But nope, KyoAni strikes again. Enjoy your shitty sales.
D Katte ni Kaizou
D- Ano Hana
I was willing to give Ano Hana a pass. I’d throw it into the Toradora category of “decent show, not really my thing”. But that lulzy final episode soiled the entire experience. It stopped being funny and started to be actually a bit depressing how much they overblew everything. It was like watching Hellsing Ultimate again, except this time they overkilled on melodrama instead of overkilling…well, overkilling overkill. It destroyed what goodwill I had towards the series. Oh well, at least there will always be Anaru’s nice bum to remember.
E Deadman Wonderland
With every episode it slowly clicks into realisation exactly how dreadful Deadman Wonderland is. Asides from the old ‘making it up as we go along’ syndrome that infects every part of this series, it’s how it revels in its own grotesqueness that is a major turn off. It’s exactly like those hyper violent OVA’s of old. The ones that, if they were a kid in the playground, they would be the one you’d laugh at until they killed a dog to show how badass they were. This is the series that listens to Linken Park and buys flick knives, but, and here’s the best part, still lives with their parents. For all the revelling in its own gory nature, Deadman Wonderland doesn’t actually have the balls to kill off an actual important character. Fun to laugh at sometimes, but otherwise a truly dreadful show.
E Ore no Imouto True Route OVA
Quick Kirino! Ignore this great opportunity that stands before you. Throw away this scholarship that was given to you, abandoning your new friends you met in Mericaw and fly back with me! Your incestuous brother, who totally ignores the advances of my underclassman who I clearly have the hots for because I am an incestuous idiotic twat. What a happy ending! Truly the rightful balance in nature had been restored. So much for a True Route alternate ending that actually made sense when we’ve got imouto lovers to pander to! Bleargh
F+ Spelunker Sensei
Oh wow. The list of things wrong with this is quite extraordinary, especially considering the length of it. A comedy that couldn’t have been less funny if it tried. Animation that I could have done better if I drew it with a pencil clenched between my arse cheeks. I mean, it’s such a simple concept, yet to fuck it up this badly is phenomenal. I’m almost speechless. This might just require a terribad video review.