In Memoriam: Looking back at the Spring 2006 anime season (part 2)
(This won't make much sense without reading part 1 first.)
If you remember the Spring season of 2006 reasonably well, you may notice a striking omission from the list of shows I'd looked at in part 1. Namely, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya aired that season but I didn't even mention it. How could I possibly write about the Spring 2006 season and not cover Haruhi?
As it happens, I have a record of my initial reaction to Haruhi's first (broadcast) episode, back in the spring of 2006:
gregory says "Have you watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya?"
You say "I admire the high concept of starting off the first episode as a crappy tragically bad student film. At the same time, it means that the first episode is a crappy, stereotypically bad student film."
You say "So no, effectively not."
As it went on, my friend Gregory Blake wound up loving Haruhi and he did his best to try to get me to watch it. Unfortunately, if you know Haruhi you know that it's very difficult to try to explain why it's so worth watching without actually spoiling the surprise. While he was alive, Gregory didn't spoil me and he failed to persuade me to power through that first episode of a terrible student film to get to the meat of the show.
After his death, I wound up feeling that because he'd loved Haruhi so much I should watch it basically in his memory. And once I was watching it, well, I wound up really loving it; Haruhi somewhat retroactively became one of the highlights of the Spring 2006 season for me. Call it part of Gregory's legacy. Even today my memories of Haruhi are inextricably tangled up in the circumstances under which I came to watch it.
(So yeah, Gregory was totally right about it being something I'd enjoy. And I'm even glad he didn't spoil me about it, because that definitely was a good double-take.)
Thank you, Gregory Blake, for that careful, spoiler-free, heartfelt advocacy for a show that you loved. In memoriam.
In Memoriam: Looking back at the Spring 2006 anime season (part 1)
In the spring of 2006, I'd reached a point where I felt I had things to say about anime but I didn't quite feel like running my own blog for it for various reasons (despite already having a technical blog). A friend I knew online very generously offered to let me write guest posts on his blog and I decided that my first post would be a summary of the season's episodes that I'd seen so far. I wrote up my views but for various (bad) reasons I sat on my post and didn't actually publish it on my friend's blog right away. I more or less had time to hesitate and get up my courage, right?
Then my friend Gregory Blake died. Well. So much for that.
In the end it wouldn't be until 2009 that I started writing about anime stuff again. However, I am an inveterate electronic packrat so I never threw away that post about the start of the Spring 2006 season, even though it was never going to see the light of day after Gregory's death. For various reasons I've decided to dust it off, reformat it slightly, and run it here, ten years and change later.
If you read through my list of shows below and remember the spring season of 2006, you may notice an elephant (not) in the woodpile. Therein hangs a tale, and since this entry is already long enough I have put it in part 2 of my story.
(For the really curious, my original HTML file, untouched since May 14th 2006, is here.)
My Spring 2006 brief impressions (all text below is from 2006)
Some brief capsule summaries of my views on this season's new shows, because I feel like running my keyboard off and gregory has generously given me a platform to do it from. I'm not going to try to describe the shows (especially in one sentence); look them up in the usual set of places. If I don't mention it, either I haven't seen it yet or I'm not watching it at all for various reasons.
Rating scheme: how eagerly I am looking forward to the next episode, from +3 ('must have right now') to -3. Because I am a fan, I watch down to -1 or -2, depending on how busy I am. Ratings are pretty much relative, since they depend on what else is coming out at the same time.
- The Third - Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo (1-2): +3
Ass-kicking female protagonist plus sardonic sidekick plus mysterious goings on equals WIN. As usual, a show that I think is good is getting fansubbed only slowly.
- Black Lagoon (1-3): +2
Modern piracy has never looked quite this stylish; the over the top take on the violence fits in.
- Air Gear (1-6): +2
Generic but well executed 'sports' anime; empty calories, but tasty and I keep coming back for another bite. I don't even mind the crazed goofyness of the sport.
- Zegapain (1-4): +1
Giant robots are not usually my thing, but this is well animated, laced with lots of mysteries, and things keep happening.
- xxxHOLIC (1-5): +1
So far mostly a charming tour through the supernatural.
- Ergo Proxy (1-9): +1
A stylish future plus a bunch of mysteries, but it may be about to start explaining things (which is the doom of many an otherwise good show).
- TOKKO (1-2): +1
I am a sucker for supernatural mysteries mixed with action; I could live without the fanservice.
- Tale of Saiunkoku (1): +1
I don't mind ancient China (with the serial numbers filed off) and so far all of the protagonists are interesting (and some are spunky).
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (1-5): +1
Supernatural horror/mystery mixed with harem game, with ordinary animation. The horror aspects are unusually well done, and I never know what's going to happen next.
- Simoun (1-2): +1
The world setup is intriguing, but it remains to be seen where the anime will go with it; the plot and action have barely gotten off the ground. This would be a +0 except that I'm hoping it goes somewhere cool, and soon.
- Yume Tsukai (1-3): +0
A lighthearted show about hunting down bad dreams. So far the formula is charming instead of tiring.
- RAY the animation (1-5): +0
The adventures of a very peculiar surgeon. Well animated but contains a number of over the top elements that make me twitch, and may drive me away in the long run.
- Makai Senki Disgaea (1-4): +0
Redeemed from a lower rating by not taking itself seriously. It's goofy and amusing, but very definitely empty calories.
- Tsubasa Chronicles Second Season (1-2): +0
More of the same of the first season. I wish they'd hurry up with the real plot, although that's unlikely since this has the stately pace of a magical girls' show (substituting feather of the plot arc for monster of the week).
- Good Witch Of The West (1-2): -1
A semi fantasy setting that is over-supplied with girls with robust glowing cheeks. I'm not sure where this is going and I'm not sure I'm interested in finding out, partly because it seems to be rather shoujo.
- Utawarerumono (1-3): -1
There is nothing wrong with this anime; it's just failed to really engage my interest after three episodes. Some of the characters are a little too generic, too.
- Kiba (1-3): -2
Pretty much a paint by numbers action anime, complete with the moody misunderstood protagonist who turns out to be really good with an important power.
- .Hack//Roots (1): -3
Dropping mysterious hints in the first episode does not equal actually creating any interest, at least for me.
- Soul Link (1): -3
This show wears its panties on its sleeve practically from the opening scene. Not particularly well animated, far too generic, and much too much fanservice.
Overall this seems like a relatively ordinary (or even weak) season. No show really makes me sit up with enthusiasm; there's no Mushishi or Noein. The Third is closest, but it probably would have been only a +1 or so in January.