Another month, another season slowly fizzles away as almost everything turns out to be poop on a stick. Which is the case each season, but hey at least there are some anime worth talking about. And if not…well we can just talk about something that aired previously because fuck trying to find something from this season. Hey I did that last month with Code Geass and would have probably done it again if not for one show.
Scamp: Blood Blockade Battlefront
While I was still a bit unsure about BBB after the opening month, this month kicked things off with one of the best episodes I’ve seen in anime all year and only continued that form from then on. A crazy lady decides that this dude for whom she loves the personality of doesn’t have a pretty enough body, so she turns him into a smoothie, picks up some random attractive dude and pumps the smoothy of her ideal man into this attractive body. The whole episode was just marvelous fun from start to finish. But it kept on going to, from burger scoffing amnesiac mushrooms to cage fighting exploding heads to heat signals coming from the crotch, it just kept up this form. It’s the structure of Bebop with the tone of Baccano complete with the visual style of…well, a bit of Kyousogiga but still very much its own thing. In a season that has otherwise been a complete wash, BBB is a wonderful ray of brilliance in amongst all the trash.
Shinmaru: Sound! Euphonium
I tried pretty hard to come up with a different anime for this month; problem is, I just didn’t enjoy anything else to degree which I am enjoying Euphonium. It seems like every moment of this series adds some new nuance to a character or relationship that makes them all the more compelling. It’s not a bunch of generic high school character types coming together to triumph at a musical contest (which could still be fun in its own right, mind); rather, there’s a clear understanding of who many of these kids are as people, how their personalities work and mesh with each other, and why they do what they do. Contrary to my entry in the “what’s not” portion of this post, I could watch these characters do whatever the hell they want and probably be interested, because so many of them are so well realized.
And, yeah, I can’t go without bringing up Reina and Kumiko’s jaunt in episode 8. It’s such a perfect way to release the tension those two. They operated on a level of frankness, playfulness, and intensity that was god damn delightful to see. Combining that verbal pleasure with this show’s gorgeous visuals? I’m not sure how any of us deserves this, but I won’t complain.
Inushinde: Koufuku Graffiti
Yes, it’s a show from last season, and no, I’m not finished, but it’s the only thing that I’m currently watching that I’m enjoying, actually semi-caught up on, and haven’t mentioned before as being actually good. And hey, I would be completely caught up if it were airing this season, since I’m around eight episodes in, so that hopefully counts for something. But there’s more that qualifies this show beyond just being alright and something that I’m current-ish with. Cute Shaft girls eating things is one of my favorite genres, and this show is a proud continuation of that noble tradition that contextualizes it as a means of bonding, and not just a way of filling time. It’s a small thing, but it’s good enough thing for a SLife show. Sure, let’s go with that.
What’s not so Hot
Scamp: Ore Monogatari
I hate anime.
Shinmaru: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
I’m not sure how adding Haruhi Suzumiya to the mix made the show MORE boring, but it happened somehow. There are certainly good moments in the show: Haruhi briefly experiencing what it’s like to get dragged along to something by another person, Itsuki pushing Kyon’s buttons (always a good time), Kyon and Yuki sometimes being cute together, etc. But I just don’t like these versions of the characters enough to stay interested when they’re just hanging out, taking baths, playing cards, and everything else they do. Their interactions just don’t have the same spark, or even a different enough but still engaging spark. The various faces in the show are of course top-tier, but luckily for me I follow plenty of folks on Twitter who are only too happy to flood my timeline with Yuki-chan faces. I can get what I want without watching the show. What a novelty!
Inushinde: Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories is one of those horrendously frustrating shows that could be good with very little effort, but manages to misplace effort in a way that makes it boring. It has so much going for it: An android being constantly reminded of her own mortality through her job, that job being morally kind of fucked, and a lead who obtained his position solely through nepotism and the insecurities that could arise. It paints the world with all kinds of colorful strokes, and the show decides to focus on the duller colors of character interaction and shiny hair. There’s nothing particularly offensive, but that total lack of risk is quite damning in the interest department. At the end of the day, it took me twenty minutes to think of something that I’m currently watching that I find worth extolling. It took me twenty milliseconds to decide that I’m disappointed in Plastic Memories.