It’s the start of a new season, and there’ve been a few interesting developments in the anime world, so a medium sized foreword is in order.
Firstly, I haven’t watched everything that is out, though I’m fairly confident I’ve watched everything that’s worth a damn, but if I’ve missed anything you think is worthwhile, please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to get round to it by next week.
Secondly, you’ve likely heard of Studio Trigger‘s kickstarter page for Little Witch Academia 2, so I won’t dwell on this point too long, but there are a few things I’d like to say. Firstly, while Little Witch Academia is nothing particularly revolutionary, nor is it an exceptionally ambitious project, it is something a little outside the norm, by a relatively new studio with little recognition, which makes the phenomenal success of this kickstarter all the more unexpected.
This really is one of the few times that we as the anime community really ought to pat ourselves on the back a little. The response was phenomenal, and yet more proof of the financial viability of unusual anime, and anime in general, outside of Japan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the comments section is a war over potential stretch goals, mainly boiling down to the old dubs vs subs debate. I found Vuc’s entry on this particularly pertinent, so I suggest you read that.
Alright, onto impressions.
Free! – 1
I’ll be doing silly parody analysis of this every Friday, so I may not talk about Free in Weekly Round-ups much, but for now I’m gonna use this space to say what I really think about Kyoto Animation’s latest offering.
I kinda feel like for all the hype, backlash, and discussion about increased gender equality surrounding the release of Free, the obvious reality that it’d probably just be another boring s’life, with the only distinction being the gender-swapped protagonists, has kind of slipped everyone by.
Sure enough, it’s just another boring, pandering s’life from KyoAni. Details are good, broad strokes are terrible, exactly what one would expect if they can detach themselves for everything else surrounding this series.
Monogatari Season 2 – 1
Ok, I’ll admit that was a pretty solid first episode all in all. Taking main character privileges away from Araragi really freshened up the formula and, as you’d expect, offered a fresh perspective on events. Even more importantly I didn’t have to watch our supposed hero sexually assault grade schoolers, the removal of which is sure to elevate any production.
Of course, they couldn’t resist the usual in-your-face fanservice, but as long as they stay away from the creepy incest angle, I can put up with it for all the interesting aspects the show has to offer.
All that said, Nisemonogatari was fucking awful, so put me down as cautiously optimistic.
WataMote – 1
So this episode kind of feels like a gender-swapped World God Only Knows, but in a universe where playing lots of dating sims doesn’t win you hearts, that is, reality. WataMote is a great example of why doing nothing wrong isn’t enough.
Why yes, I would life to clarify that position. I picked WataMote up mostly because my TL wouldn’t shut up about how great it is, but the only reasons I’ve seen given essentially boil down to the characters, animation and soundtrack actually seeming to have been crafted to strengthen the story rather than pander to certain demographics. Y’know, what every bloody anime should do.
They’re right though, WataMote does nothing much wrong as far as I can see, the problem is that it doesn’t do anything much right, either. Maybe I’m just over wallflower protagonists, but nothing about this show really engaged me, and it’s not like I wasn’t plenty awkward and socially anxious back in high school.
I dunno, it’s hard to tell from one episode, but it all just feels so safe to me, textbook, almost. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t particularly enlightening, and none of the characters really speak to me at this point. I haven’t really been given a hook, a reason to keep watching. This is exactly the minimum that ought to be expected of any anime were the world sane. I will keep watching though, because maybe a few episodes and it’ll get into its stride.
Danganronpa The Animation – 1
So it’s like Mirai Nikki, a bunch of comically exaggerated, two dimensional characters forced to fight each other. Meh. I’ll keep watching for now, but I was never really impressed by Mirai Nikki, and I doubt this is gonna set anybody’s world on fire.
Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu – 1
So instead of ‘cute girls do cute things’ it’s ‘cute girls fight mock battles’. Um… ok, I guess. Honestly the first half of the episode was really boring and the second half was just ok. It took the piss out of K-On, though, so it’s alright by me.
Eccentric Family – 1
The Tatami Galaxy was a great series, I’m glad we agree, but being directed by legendary auteur Yuasa Masaaki, it’s hard to know how much of its greatness was the source material and how much was Yuasa’s superlative directing skills. Eccentric Family makes me think my guess of a roughly 50:50 ratio was pretty close.
Eccentric Family gave what is undoubtedly the most interesting, engaging episode of the new season, but it’s definitely lacking the flair The Tatami Galaxy had. There have been some complex, interesting relationships set up, but I want to give it at least one more episode before I start commenting on all that.