You can tell I wasn’t very active last month by the fact the last monthly roundup is still on the homepage. No big anime news this month, just plain old ratings to do for now.
Nothing this month.
B+ Aquarion EVOL
I’m also a bit torn on the direction they’ve taken with this series. It’s all gotten a little bit too serious, far more so than the same Aquarion EVOL I fell in love with. That said, even if it’s taking itself more seriously than usual, I’ve been enjoying these latest episodes immensely anyway. Particularly the invasion into Vega and the Death of the Big Bangs. It’s not so much that I care about the plot (I don’t) as it is that the characters have grown on me to the point that I enjoy watching them do pretty much anything. And hey, even at its most serious, Aquarion EVOL is still a pile of big dumb fun.
B+ Un-Go: Inga-ron
Exactly what Un-Go needed. A proper introduction to the characters with an engaging self-contained story that highlights all of the positives the TV series had. It was still as difficult to follow as Un-Go has always been. More than once I had to rewind to catch the meaning of what characters were saying. But it also had those same gut-wrenching, agenda-beating moments, such as the reveals by each of the hippies as to why they went into the battlefield. Hopefully if new people who watch Un-Go check out this first, there won’t be the same level of complaints about the mysteries being lame when that was never supposed to be the main appeal.
B+ Kids on the Slope
Funny how my complaint last month was that it was all a little bit too happy in Kids on the Slope. My only real complaint this month was the devolving into melodramatic shoujo territory got very tiresome very quickly. Asides from maybe episode 7 though, the series has handled this big love dodecahedron quite well, since shit actually moves in their relationships and they are always able to tie it all back to the music again. It really is a fantastically put together anime. Also Brother Jun is mai waifu. Do not steal.
I love the character interactions in Jormungand, particularly the crew’s relationship with Jonah. I love how they each act as a sort of cool uncle to him, teaching him little tricks and joking about bottoms and stuff like that. Also Koko is fantastic, a perfect character to carry this show. Admittedly I’m still struggling to figure out where any of this is supposed to be going. Not even just some sort of cohesive plot, although there’s been no sign of that either. I don’t know if this show has any themes or messages or anything, beyond maybe that arms dealers are all psychopaths. Still though, it’s always fun to watch Koko make people angry.
The totally inevitable happened. The stink from the original manga has dragged the show into the most blatant piece of wish-fulfillment bullshit. It’s ironic how taking Rea away from her father actually removed her personality and turned her into nothing more than a Perfect Girlfriend. And yet I still enjoy this show way more than it deserves because it’s just too well made. Episode 8 was perfect at this. The way the jokes are played out, and how different things are shot. Even when it’s conforming to the original brainlessness of the manga (insert zombie brain joke here), it’s still really well done. Shame this director had to work on Sankarea, but I’m keeping my eye on him from now on.
B- Space Bros
Space Bros has the opposite problem to Jormungand in that its themes are so overplayed that it gets repetitive and tiring. Which is a shame because on the occasions when it does try to tackle things from a different angle, it’s really enjoyable. The last two episodes were great in that regard. One about taking advantage of luck to get achieve your dreams, and the other about the sacrifices people make to reach those dreams. It’s still all about dreams dreams dreams, but at least it’s tackling it from a different angle. More of that please Space Bros.
B- Eureka Seven Ao
Eureka Seven Ao is kinda dumb. I mean, I like some good dumb giant robot fun, as the high score for Aquarion EVOL should show, but I don’t remember the original Eureka Seven ever being quite this dumb. Maybe it’s just because I’m older and more cynical than when I watched the original, but the whole Truth invasion part was so stupidly dramatic with so much grandstanding and stupid lines of dialogue that I found myself scoffing the entire way through it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just requires some re-adjusting of expectations on my part.
B- Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day
Patema Inverted is a movie by the guy who made Time of Eve and Pale Cocoon. The movie is supposed to be coming out sometime this year. As a form of hype building, they’ve been releasing these prologue episodes about the series. I thought they were just the first few minutes of the actual movie, but they seem to be genuine prologue episodes of its own content. Hard to know until the actual movie itself comes out. There’s not a whole lot you can get from these prologue episodes. He still has his hand-cam style of directing, the backgrounds look beautiful, and I liked the little twist at the end. Looks promising, but again, there’s not a whole lot to take from them.
The second of the 2012 Young Animator Training Projects, Wasurenagumo is about a moe moe spider. This one again is competently produced, tells a neat little contained story, is well animated, and all the other things that I’ve come to expect from the Young Animator Training Project pieces, including that it was sorta forgettable. Well, at least, that’s what I was thinking about 15 minutes through this one. “It just needs something to make it stand out” I thought. And then came the ending. Yup, that sure was an ending I won’t forget in a hurry.
If you were to ask me to list the things I like about Tsuritama, I’d be at a bit of a loss. I find the characters all very simple-minded and irritating. From the main character to Haru to angtsy glasses guy, they’re all very boring people. I also can’t say I’m particularly fond of the fact that 10 minutes of each episode are basically fishing commercials. By all means I’m cool with a story about fishing, but almost all of this fishing babble has nothing to do with the story. What I do like, I guess, is how whimsical and joyous and sometimes plain weird it is. On the few occasions it actually goes a bit crazy it finally becomes entertaining.
This show has horrible directing. There was this one shot of Waver talking to Rider that was literally 2 minutes of Waver’s face inside a sleeping bag. It’s the walking-round-in-circles all over again! Who the fuck thinks a 2 minute non changing shot of Saber going bla bla honour honour bla bla is interesting? Nothing is said once that can be said 10 times in several different self-important ways. I genuinely like the story and (some of) the characters, and on the times when it does try to do something a bit more with the directing it’s pretty damn great, such as basically the entirety of episode 22. I just wish it did that all the time and not just when they get bored with lying on stashes on money and decide to fucking animate stuff for a change.
C- Kuroko’s Basketball
When I came back from my self-inforced hiatus to complete my university degree, I had a massive backlog of anime to catch up with. Somewhere, in amongst all those anime, I forgot to keep watching Kuroko no Basuke. It’s not that bad, apart from the animation quality being embarrassing. It’s just forgettable shounen fluff. It has no other draws beyond it being all shouneny and stuff. A story can’t survive on shounen ‘I wanna be the best’ alone.
D+ Medaka Box
I hear you manga fans. The manga changes genres twice. Starts at this school life fixing problems thing. Turns into a shounen battle manga. And then finally turns into a parody of shounen battle manga. The presence of Medaka being basically Jesus with Tits might have been enough to keep me vaguely interested until then. But then I heard it was only going to be 12 episodes long. Considering it’s pre-orders are selling like cold rotting cakes at the moment, the chances of more being made are pretty damn low. So I’m done. I’ve got enough other stuff to watch anyway.
D Mysterious Girlfriend X
I came to a very quick realisation watching episode 4: Mysterious Girlfriend X has nothing else to offer. It has this little relationship between Urabe and Yuji Everylead that deliberately tries not to do what standard relationships are meant to. That’s neat, but that also happens to be all it has. Its story is not going to go anywhere from here. So I bailed. Not because it was bad, but because I felt I had gotten everything from this series I needed. No point sucking from the straw if the drink in there has all been drunk.
D Lupin III: Fujiko Mine
I do not like this new take on Lupin III. Its attempts to be all Mature and Sexy come off as silly, desperate, and sleazy in an uncomfortable way. It also seems to lack a sense of humour, taking itself way too seriously and having deadly serious conversations about the world when it simply doesn’t have the brains to say anything worthwhile. The Fidel Castro episode was particularly embarrassing in this regard. I also hate what they’ve done to Zenigata’s character, turning an honourable goofball into a reprehensible slimeball. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be against a new interpretation of Lupin III, but not a version that sucks all the fun out of it.
No dreadful OVAs to mock this month.