Being surprised by the programs of noitaminA
noitaminA is a programming block that is either derided or saluted (depending on your perspective) for running 'arty' and experimental shows instead of your usual fair. I don't usually pay much attention to things surrounding the shows that I watch (like staff), so from anime blog reading so far I've vaguely had the impression that it was mostly uninteresting (and often pretentious) anime with much more misses than hits.
(For example, Fractale was a noitaminA show. The general consensus is that it was not a success.)
Today, for reasons beyond the scope of this entry, I decided to actually look up the facts. And the facts surprised me. For a start, noitaminA is much older than I had vaguely thought; the programming block started in 2005. But the real surprise was that noitaminA has run a significant number of shows that I've enjoyed and a surprising number of shows that I would not have expected to be their fare because they are action-oriented shows.
All of the following shows are noitaminA ones:
- both Honey and Clover and Nodame Cantabile, which are notable for being slice of life romance shows that I really liked despite not liking either slice of life or romance.
- Moyashimon, which is both crazy and educational (really, it makes microbes fascinating and cute).
- Eden of the East
(Other notable, eye-raising shows include AnoHana and Usagi Drop (aka Bunny Drop).)
Surprising action shows on noitaminA that I've watched include Toshokan Sensou (which I did not finish), [C] and this season's Guilty Crown. Arguably Eden of the East should also be considered an action show.
Looking at the full list shows me a significant number of clearly successful shows (even if a number of them are not to my tastes and I didn't watch them), many of them relatively conventional series from an artistic perspective. It's clear that noitaminA doesn't have anything to apologize for, and if I discuss a noitaminA show I have no reason to prefix it with 'even though this is on noitaminA, you should totally pay attention anyways'.
(Oh sure, there are also failures and drastic artistic experiments like The Tatami Galaxy, but far less of them than I had vaguely thought.)
PS: I don't think you can even argue that noitaminA may have started out strong with things like Honey and Clover but has fallen down lately. Just this year I have read plenty of praise for AnoHana and Usagi Drop, for example.
Written on 01 December 2011.