Why dropping Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress makes me oddly happy
Every so often I worry that I have no sense of taste in anime, or at least in action anime. After all I watch a lot of what is basically bland dreck (Haifuri this season, Luck & Logic last season, and the list goes on); to get me to not watch an action show, it usually has to be either unusually terribly made or unusually stuffed with obnoxious cliches (or both). I will really put up with a lot if you feed me a certain amount of tolerable action. I'll even be reasonably enthused about it.
Kabaneri is not the sort of action show that I drop. Far from being an unusually bad one, it's an unusually good one, well directed and well made. In the four episodes I saw it had high points that were well above what many shows I've watched achieve in their entire run in fight direction, art, sheer staging of scenes, and so on. Nor was it laden with the usual painful cliches of the broad action genre, and it even had only a few cardboard cutout stock characters from central casting.
(Kabaneri had some cliches but they're Araki cliches not genre cliches, if that makes sense. The charitable will call them themes.)
I dropped Kabaneri anyways because I didn't like it, despite it having everything everything that ought to have kept me watching. What that means is that I'm responding to something in action shows that's more than the obvious; I have some sort of taste for them that transcends basic technical qualities. Kabaneri is a quite competent action show and I've even been convinced that there's some depth in the writing, but I'm still not interested. It's simply not to my taste.
Which is why dropping Kabaneri makes me oddly happy. Dropping it because it's not to my taste means that I actually have some taste.
(This doesn't mean that I understand my sense of taste here. While I can point to nits around Kabaneri, I feel that they're only the surface of my reaction to it. I've forgiven more from worse shows and kept watching them, so there's something deep in Kabaneri that just turns me off it.)
Written on 09 June 2016.