Hi guys, I’m your new writer for The Cart Driver. Scamp so graciously invited me to join, being that wonderful and handsome and sexy man that he is, and I can’t wait to stand in the shadow of such a great writer!
*cough* Anyway, this is the final monthly roundup ever. Some quick highs and lows for you. The only A+ grade I ever gave was to Lagann-hen (apart from that one time I gave A++ to Queens Blade season 2). I never gave an F- grade, but Rio Rainbow Gate did get an F one month. The worst month ever was that infamous summer 2010 season, notably August where the highest grade I gave was a C+ to Highschool of the Dead. Best month is difficult to choose, so I’m going to cheat and give it to Movember because you guys raised $130 for charity with that.
A Aquarion EVOL
I was starting to worry that perhaps the final batch of episodes were getting a bit too self-serious for Aquarion EVOL. Oh how wrong was I. The final 2 episodes were some of the best anime I’ve ever seen. The final episode in particular had me both convulsing with laughter and yet tearing up with emotion, often at the very same scene. There’s a very special kind of anime that is capable of doing that. I don’t think I’ve gotten this pumped and emotional over an anime since…well, since Lagann-hen I guess. It certainly had its problems, but with this ending Aquarion EVOL will go down as one of my all time favourites.
B Space Bros
The last few episodes have entered what can only be described as a shounen tournament arc, and what’s more surprising is how well it’s worked for the show. This meant it firstly stopped banging on the same points over and over again, but it’s also good enough at characterisation that the dynamics that result from this tournament are fascinating and entertaining to watch. It’s perhaps moving a bit slowly, but a show like this was always going to be a slow burner.
B Eureka Seven Ao
I feel Eureka Seven Ao is finally hitting its groove. It certainly took a while, but it’s finally got to grips with its characters and what makes them tick. Actually a more likely case is that I’ve suddenly found myself caring about the characters more, but that’s still props to Ao for finally developing them enough to make them interesting to watch. Also it’s not entirely coincidental that the time Ao started getting better coincided with the time it was starting to increasingly resemble Evangelion.
B Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day
I feel a bit weird watching these Patema Inverted episodes. What they’re billed as is prologues to the movie that’s supposed to be coming out later this year, but I can’t help feel that perhaps there’s been some mistranslation along the way. These feel way too much like they should be the opening scenes of the movie itself, and I’m just spoiling the opening 20 minutes of a movie I was always going to watch. I mean, they’re great, and this episode in particular was kind of amazing in its directing and concepts. But that doesn’t mean I think you should be watching them just yet.
I’ve been wrestling with my feelings on Jormungand for a while now. I recognise that it has some truly great characters and some very clever ways it allows them to be themselves. Particularly Jonah, who is the heart in a series that can sometimes feel like its dead inside. See, that’s the thing. No matter how I try to wrestle with my understanding of Jormungand, it defies meaning. The plotlines have resolutions that mean nothing. Perhaps that’s the point? Maybe it’s just pretentious and pretends it has a point when it doesn’t? I’m glad there’s another 12 episodes planned for next Fall, because while it frustrates me, I can’t deny Jormungand fascinates me.
B- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King
There was that scene towards the end of this movie, with Guts on the stairs after the assassination as he looked up at Griffith, that recaptured the astonishingly beautiful story that made me fall so in love with the original TV series. For that scene alone, I can’t bring myself to dislike this movie. But I’m still failing to see what this really brings to the franchise. What it adds only detracts from the effect of the scenes. We’ll see, hard to judge on this first movie alone.
The send off for the Rider and Waver story was fantastic and a perfect way to end my involvement with the series entirely. Yes, while the list there says I watched episodes 24 and 25, in reality I watched about 6 minutes of 24 and then fast-forwarded through the entire rest, except for that 5 minute segment in episode 25 of Waver. I realised that I gave not one ounce of shit about the Holy Grail War, and had no obligation to the series to see it out to the end. Its part of my new rule to stop watching anime when I really have no interest in what happens anymore, even if I’ve enjoyed prior episodes, so as to not sour my opinion of the show. For that, I don’t particularly begrudge Fate/Zero for having 2 final episodes I couldn’t care less about.
C- Kids on the Slope
These final few episodes were so bad they felt like a parody of josei manga. In particular the midway point of episode 10. It reminded me of that Sensei/Ninomiya-kun thing from Minami-ke, and when you start to resemble something that is meant to be a mocking parody, you know something has gone horribly wrong. You can’t even blame a rushed manga adaptation, because it was the plot beats rather than any problems with pacing that was the issue. Which is a shame, because the epilogue reminded me how great this show could be when it wasn’t focusing on terrible melodrama.
I mean, it’s not like I always knew there was conflict with the story and the presentation in Sankarea, but episode 11 was so jarring in that regard it rather ruined the entire show for me. Like Kids on the Slope, it was a hugely talented director making the most out of the source material but being shackled by not being able to fully change what happened. Plus in both cases, what with how typical melodrama-y some of the shot-composition in Kids on the Slope was like, and with Wanko boobs flying everywhere in Sankarea, I’m not sure they even wanted to change the tone of the source material too much. Oh well, they were fun while the illusion lasted.
Tsuritama will be one of my examples to use as to why ‘It gets better I swear’ isn’t a particularly good argument when someone drops a show early on. You see, the main two characters in Tsuritama, Haru and Yuki, are so brainless, simple-minded and generally terrible characters that I completely stopped caring about anything that happened to them. This meant that when the grand finale rolled in, I couldn’t give the tiniest shit what was going on. The only enjoyment I got was on a purely superficial level, namely how I found those Duck suits squeaky noises they made as they moved funny.
F- The Cart Driver
What the hell happened to my favourite blog? I never asked for this, why are all these new people coming in? And I thought it was bad enough with the monthly roundups ending. Soon I’ll start reading old blog posts and reminiscing over the good old days when it was just Scamp and I knew exactly what he thought each month. Why must things change, I hate change. Bring back the old facebook!