Every season for the last two or three, we’ve heard the same thing. “I can’t believe the crap that’s coming out. OMG, nothing’s worth watching next season!” And yet, every season has seen one or more breakout hits that were, if not tolerable, actually quite good. Now, not to pick on Aroduc, but I had his last few previews bookmarked…
Unless you were into Gundam or Clannad, it looked to be a bust of a season, with nothing interesting or original. What happened? Macadamy Wasshoi. Maybe not the greatest breakout ever, but a helluva fun show. Don’t forget everyone’s favorite loli, Index, and walls o’text exposition. Mecha fans got Linebarrels of Iron, which, from what I saw, after it got past it’s initial rough spots, started spewing hot-blooded mecha action onto the screen. Then there was CHAOS:Head, for the mystery/horror folks, which was terribly under-rated. Not terrific, but underrated. Finally Akane-iro which was typical hentai harem adaptation fare…with a twist ending
Well, ok This one kind of did live down to its expectation. No, really, it was honestly bad. Except for the shows carried over from the prior season, there was an awful lot of suckage. Sora wa Kakeru Shoujo, though rocky, was probably the best of the new stuff (the omake episode was a riot), unless you were into feminine tranny high school guys that made you doubt your sexuality at the same time you wanted to strangle the little bit– uh, bastard (Maria+holic). Kurokami showed early promise, but dropped into violence porn. How do I smack thee? Let me count the ways. And don’t get me started on Munto, a show that seemed designed to drag on forever while violating all the rules of good storytelling. KyoAni is really lost without original source material.
Edit: The more I think about it, this season really, truly did suck. It was held up only by the carryovers. Although, maybe I was too hard on Maria+holic. Or maybe Perez Hilton has re-calibrated my my Asshole-o-Meter(tm). (I never even knew it had a “Slap this little bitch so hard his head spins like a top” rating.)
The ultimate in doom and gloom, a season everyone predicted would challenge the stock market for new lows. I left the comment: “Wake me when it’s summer.” Instead, at look what we’ve gotten: Asura’s Cryin’ is delivering cute girls, an interesting protagonist, and a mecha show that isn’t dominated by mecha. If they can keep from blowing the narrative like they did between ep. 1 and 2, it might work out. Then there’s Queen’s Blade, which is just totally, horribly, god-awful bad...and yet manages to deliver at least one *schwing!* moment every episode, that you’re too embarrassed to admit to. Everyone bags on it, but you know they’re still waiting for the moment we finally get to see Risty topless — which you know isn’t going to happen until Gonzo has dragged us kicking and screaming through 2/3 of the series, bleeding from our eye-sockets… Oh wait, this is by ARMS. We can’t even count on that… Eden of the East is giving me vibes like Bourne done as an animÃ©. It might just have something going here. I forgot to check out Pandora Hearts, which looks like it’s going to be bad fantasy, but Tears to Tiara is so far turning out to be good fantasy. I mean, if you can believe the entire village went boar hunting and mushroom picking in the middle of the night, leaving the most important girl behind in the village alone. This show reminds me of Bastard, probably because of the whole summoned-bad-guy/deity-who-isn’t-exactly-what-they-expected bit. And then there’s the biggest surprise of the season so far: Saki. Who’d have thought Mahjonng would be moÃ©? Ok, I’ve been bagging on this show, and I still have the aforementioned issues with it. However, it’s beginning to look like what Saki thought was the trouble in her family really was just the manifestation of a deeper problem. I’m hoping this show doesn’t turn angsty and do an Angelic Layer plot.
Continuing with the current season, FMA just never caught on with me for some reason, and the new season’s no exception, but it’s fans are at least not burning down the studio. Shangri-La has characters I don’t like at all, but some are enjoying it. I’d find it more interesting if it concentrated on the main character; instead it keeps focusing on the secondary characters. Then there’s the Valkyria Chronicles, about which I have to say: Flustered Alicia is muy moÃ©. I think I’m going to end up watching just for her. And it appears that many are watching K-ON! just for Mio.
However, to counter all the surprising quality, or at least good entertainment, found in what was thought to be the season of utter doom and gloom, we were also subjected to the live-action Dragonball movie. Or at least anyone foolish enough to go to the theater was; I didn’t get anywhere near it.
Ah well, until later…
Update: Jury’s out on Pandora Hearts, but after 3 episodes I’m forced to admit, I can’t see where it’s going; every time I expect a zig, it zags. Think “Lewis Carol crossed with gaslight fantasy/intrigue.” Now add a bad acid trip. Sheesh.
Update 2: One thing I figured out from doing this. My hiatus wasn’t just because I’m too busy (I still am!), but a lot of it was that there wasn’t crap worth writing about last season, and I didn’t buy anything that really gripped my imagination. Elemental Gelade was ok, but not good by any stretch of the imagination. Everyone and his kid sister has already seen Nanoha, and everything else I bought was obligation buys.