Rather sad news this month. The acclaimed director Noburo Ishiguro died, at the ripe old age of 73. There are 3 titles he’s known for that make him one of the most important and influential anime directors ever. There were Macross and Yamato, neither of which I’ve seen so I can’t really make a comment on. The other was a little anime by the name of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I was originally going to write a review of LOGH in honour of his passing, but I didn’t have a clue where to start reviewing such a behemoth series like that. Plus I’m pretty sure most of the reasons I like LOGH are due to the original author rather than anything the directing added. Still, he realised that massive series potential and made anime what it is today. Many of my favourite overly dramatic mecha space opera series would not exist if not for him.
A- Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing
Fantastic final batch of episodes to the series. Fam admits she was being naive and that the war cannot be solved through sheer genki energy. Milia completes her development by walking on board the bridge of the Silvius in that officer uniform. Everything comes to a head in a dramatic, wide scoping finale with everyone fighting everyone. Exile on Exile. The return of the Silvana to top everything off. Not so sure about the very final twist that I don’t feel like spoiling, and there were a few glitches along these few episodes, but it was so grand and all-encompassing that many of my little quibbles gets swept under this wave of energy. Really fantastic end to this series. The focus is different to the original Last Exile, being less about adventure and more about war and politics, but I think it handled that fairly well. Sure, any recommendation of Last Exile Fam will have to be appended with the main character is awful, and it’s not as good as the original Last Exile, but I still think it’s well worth anyone’s time.
B+ Future Diary
Perhaps in execution, Future Diary leaves a little to be desired. But for the direction the story has been taking lately, I’m all ears. It has always been gloriously fucked up, but the latest episodes have gone right off the deep end into complete insanity, while still somehow keeping a lid on the narrative and having it make some degree of sense. There’s very few anime I’ve gotten this thrilled at each plot twist as I have for Future Diary lately.
B+ Daily Lives of Higschool Boys
The nature of Daily Dude’s object of pure satire means its jokes eventually started to run stale. What it needed to do was wrap everything up with one final gag that encompassed everything it was trying to teach us, showing how we have grown as people from out experienced with the anime. Detroit Metal City did it with highlighting how dumb a real Heavy Metal star looked after we had experienced the rest of the series. Nichibros did it with that final dream sequence where everything was played completely straight, which only served to highlight even further how silly these scenes all seemed, but only after we had experienced the rest of the series. Masterful stroke by one of the greatest comedy anime I’ve ever seen.
B Aquarion EVOL
For the most part, Aquarion EVOL is as fun as it ever was. I love the addition of our new overcoat wearing villain who gets won over to the good side by the power of moe. It has that goofy yet still sincere quality to it that made School Rumble click so well, so that you can both roar with laughter yet still get emotionally invested in the romance. The problem that’s started to rear its head this month are the villains. I just do not give a shit about them. They’d be tolerable if they had the same self-aware quality the good guys have, but they don’t. It feels like it’s all being played straight, as if we’re somehow supposed to care about their schemes. I hope LOVE BACKWARDS never feels the need to try take itself more seriously, because I love it as it is right now.
Anti-climactic end yet again, which is kind of par for the course with the -monogatari franchise. Overall, I loved the animation and massive increase in quality in the directing, but the actual Plot and Story part was all a bit of a let down. There were hugely entertaining side parts, such as characters like Kaiki or Shinobu, but the stories they got involved in were all rather dull. Then again, I had a similar problem with large segments of Bakemonogatari. This is probably the reason I cling so desperately to the idea that Kizumonogatari has a great story behind it. I should stop letting myself get excited for it, lest it turns out the exact same.
C Natsume Yuujinchou 4
There was one episode of Cute Boys Doing Cute Things this month, which means Natsume automatically gets bumped down several score under my new rule of Don’t Do The Shit Nichibros Makes Fun Of. Actually there was probably some pretentious dialogue about the weather too, because there normally is in Natsume. For the most part though, the rest of this month was standard Natsume. I just happen to be tired of its formula. If they announce another season and it’s not called Natsume Yuujinchou Final, then I’m not watching it.
This is weird. I usually love submarine battle stuff. I distinctly remember leaning closer to my speakers and turning them up when watching the original Last Exile and they were searching for the Exile inside the Grand Stream. Yet the submarine battles in Ozma did nothing for me. I think the problems are twofold. One is that they made up the rules of the game as they went along. Halfway through they suddenly decided that the heat would increase in the sub if they stayed under the sand. It’s hard to get excited about anything like this when they could pull any old shit out of their ass at any minute. The second, and perhaps more damning, is I don’t care about any of the characters yet. Need to get cracking on that Ozma if you’re only 6 episodes long.
C- Persona 4
I’m sorry Persona 4, but I stopped caring last month. I liked your characters and your goofier episodes. Heck, I even liked your internal struggles played out with weird Freudian imagery. But these final batch of episodes were way too self-serious for my liking, and didn’t gel well with the rest of the series. Plus it felt like all the characters had long since completed their development. The final reveal with the villain was dumb, because I struggled to make any connection between his shadows’ ideals and what we saw of his real world personality. The final final villain also rubbed me the wrong way. The message is that people watch TV to escape from reality and that you should go outside and hang out with other people instead, which is a bit rich coming from a fucking video game. Poorly directed, cheesy without being entertaining about it. Just the entire end arc was a damp squib.
D+ Kimi no Iru Machi
Eh, it’s an OVA adaptation of a much longer running manga that’s only covering a few important plot points for the original fans, just so they can squeal in delight as they see them animated. I was hoping perhaps for some sort more ambitious, experimental animation and directorial style when they had Yasuhiro Yoshiura directing it, but I guess even he phones it in sometimes. Whatever, it was largely dull, even if a little bit of old feeling sparked up inside me towards the end. Somewhere inside, I’m still hoping for another decent seinen romance. Maybe I should give Ano Natsu a proper sho-bwahahaha no.
D The Princess and the Pilot
I will be fair to Princess and the Pilot and admit that it was very well paced and structured. I knew this because when I went for the inevitable glance to see how much longer I had to suffer through this movie, over an hour had passed and I hadn’t even noticed. But still, this movie was drab and dull, cycling through clichés with two characters that I never cared about. This is probably the first and only time you’ll hear me mention something with voice acting, but the actor’s dialogue was incredibly dry and dull. Perhaps it was to match the characters, but they left the impression that neither character was capable of feeling emotion. Dull movie, but inoffensively so.