My brief snapshot of the Fall 2010 anime season first episodes
Another season, another flood of first episodes, some of which I've seen and some of which I currently have no interest in. Because I feel like it (and because I want to keep track and make sure I don't miss anything), here's a snapshot in an extremely abbreviated form.
Short summary of this season: I haven't seen anything yet that's likely to make Author happy .
Shows I have seen (more or less in the order seen):
- Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls: I saw the preview version of the first
episode; it was alternately interesting and annoying. The less
fanservice in future episodes the better, but I'm probably going to
- Panty & Stocking: cannot look away. Disturbingly
funny; totally over the top.
- Star Driver: I have a weakness for empty action calories and this was
at least entertaining. On the positive side, I think they intended
for the ridiculous bits to be ridiculous.
- Otome Youkai Zakuro: This had me paying attention from
the opening scene, partly because I like supernatural action shows.
So far one of my favorite shows of this season, despite occasional
- Psychic Detective Yakumo: The premise is interesting but the first
episode was just acceptable and somewhat paint by numbers. I hope that
it intended to telegraph who the guilty party was as strongly as it
did. (I wouldn't have really noticed the lack of actual animation if
Aroduc hadn't called it out.)
- My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute (Ore no Imouto ...):
It's well produced, competently done, and even funny, but I find that I
have very little interest in watching more for various reasons.
- A Certain Magical Index II: It seems to be planning to be just like the
first season. This is fine by me but may not be fine by you.
- Iron Man: an unexceptional Japanese version of American superheroics.
The original source comics are probably just as stupid (although this
cannot excuse what they are doing to the female reporter), and I like
how they get that Tony Stark is a total obnoxious prat.
I would like to wholeheartedly like this, but it really has too much stupid in it and not enough action, and the action is not really all that good. (The character art style doesn't help.)
- The World God Only Knows: competently done and decently amusing
(probably only in small doses for me).
- Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: the premise is sort of interesting but the
implementation is kind of generic. If I watch more at all, I wouldn't
be surprised if I got bored very fast.
- Invasion! Squid Girl: It's both well-made and funny, but I sort of
feel that I've already seen as much of Keroro Gunsou as I want to.
(Also, I find Squid Girl much more sympathetic than I ever did Keroro so I am less amused by bad things happening to her.)
One of the things I've decided is that I need to stop reading Aroduc's summaries before I decide whether or not to watch shows. Aroduc is perpetually picky about things and even though I know that he is more picky than I am, I still let his grumpy reactions influence me. It'd be better to only look at his reactions after I've formed my own.
Still going to see (when available):
- Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan second season: I watched the first season.
- Tamayura (OVA): It's about photography.
Have not watched (yet, subject to change) due to show's genre and/or summary:
- MM!: ordinary life plus sex comedy
- Bakuman: ordinary life comedy/drama
- Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru
- Togainu no Chi
- Fortune Arterial: you jest.
- Yosuga no Sora: uh, no
(warning: NSFW spoilers, which really says all that's necessary).
- Super Robot Wars OG: classic giant robots, plus I don't know anything about the setting of this long-running franchise
Have not watched due to being a sequel to something I didn't watch:
- Arakawa Under the Bridge*2
- Sora no Otoshimono (Heaven's Lost Property) Forte
- Letter Bee REVERSE: technically I watched part of the first season before giving up on it.
Forgotten, overlooked, or not yet fansubbed: everything else.
Something that struck me about My Sister Cannot Be This Cute
[...] After getting everything off her chest, [Kirino] gives the best moment of the series where she chastises her brother for thinking the things she enjoys in 2D is something she wants to experience in 3D. This works on so many levels.
For me, one of the interesting things about Kirino is what I'll call her otaku blindness. This is most obvious in the scene where she shows Kyousuke her collection and immediately starts talking to him as if he was a fellow otaku as opposed to a disoriented outsider being overwhelmed by a flood of information he has little to no context for; a blindness to how he is different from her and doesn't see things the way she does. This otaku behavior is so common that it's almost a cliche.
However, I think that her blindness goes deeper than that. In particular, I believe that she is sincere about why she collects and plays her eroge games; she plays them for the story and because she thinks little sisters (at least as they are in the games) are cute. She is immersed enough in her enthusiasms that she is effectively blind to the eroge/R-17 components; she knows that they exist but she's desensitized to them and their implications, in much the same way that long time anime viewers can become more or less blind to fanservice.
Getting back to Splitter's remark, I thus wouldn't say that she enjoys this aspect in 2D as such; instead she's just null to it. Kyousuke can prod her back into an awareness of it but he has to do so explicitly by things like reminding her about the (nominal) implications of him playing through R-17 portions in front of her, and until he does so it seems that the issue simply hadn't occurred to her.
(Kirino is clearly not innocent about the eroge nature of her stuff, given that she carefully hides an eroge game inside a harmless case instead of leaving it in its own case. What she was doing carrying the game around in her purse at all is a question that may get answered later.)
PS: I am aware that this is one of the least creepy interpretations possible of OreImo's basic premise. As an optimist, that's why I like it.
A real commentary on Otome Youkai Zakuro
(Okay, time to write something more serious about this show.)
I feel conflicted about Zakuro.
On the one hand, I'm enjoying it and this counts for a lot. Zakuro herself is the main draw for me (as seen), partly because I always like seeing competent and strong female protagonists in anime (given that they're so rare). The rest of the ingredients are not bad; the setting is novel, the rest of the characters are at least amusing, what's going on is interesting, and the show is willing to be sort of subtle at least some of the time. So far the romance has managed to be amusing instead of annoying.
(I particularly enjoyed Agemaki making conscious use of what I can best describe as his manly shoujo powers to disguise and overcome his fears.)
On the other hand, so far I'm feeling that Zakuro is merely competent and not more. While there's a lot to be said for competence, it feels wrong for me to be getting enthused and excited about it; ordinary competence should be a basic thing that (almost) all anime has, not an exception that I celebrate. This makes it hard for me to say really positive things about Zakuro, because its major positive so far is something that a lot of people want to be in every show that they watch.
(I also feel that it's kind of sad when an anime doesn't even try for more than competence. Since Zakuro is a manga adaptation, this may be forced on it by the original source material.)
As merely competent, I expect Zakuro to be pretty straightforward; what we've seen so far is likely to be what we get for the rest of the show. People hoping for lots of action are likely to be disappointed (the opening of the first episode is probably going to be atypical), and I expect romance to be at least half the show's contents by volume. Overall I expect to enjoy the show, but I also expect it to be ultimately un-memorable, a good way to pass time in the fall season but nothing more than that.
(I would love to be disappointed in this, well, in a good way, but I'm not holding my breath.)
Zakuro also has some weaknesses that it's already showing, which basically boil down to aspects being kind of generic. Even the main characters don't really stand out most of the time, various bits of the story are kind of predictable, and the show is already pulling out the cliches without making novel uses of them. I was particularly not taken by the use of various stock characters in the second episode, complete with an all but moustache-twirling overly Westernized, overly materialistic Japanese businessman (he has a moustache, he just doesn't twirl it). Setting up strawmen and cliches against your protagonists doesn't strengthen your story, it weakens it; anyone can look good against strawmen.
PS: note that I may have fairly strong standards for mere competence. To me, mere competence is being entertaining and decently well executed and so on. Being better than merely competent is creating something that is actively memorable and unusual (what I think Author would call good anime).