Some shows that didn't work out for me in 2018

December 21, 2018

Last year I wrote about some shows that didn't work out for me, and this year I've decided to do it again for my own reasons. As with last year, these are shows that I started with high hopes, shows that by all rights should work for me, and then things didn't work out. I'm almost always sad when this happens, because I want to enjoy everything I watch and I want to have more things to watch that I enjoy. As with last year, this is not to condemn these shows, it is to create a little memorial to them and to what could have been. That these shows didn't work out for me can say as much about me as it does about the shows.

(To a certain extent, these shows teach me something about my own tastes, which is part of why I want to write all of this up.)

In the order that they aired and that I walked away from them:

  • Katana Maidens - Toji no Miko: It's been a pretty long time since we had a show like this, but sadly the show we got had pacing issues that I eventually got tired of. I really do want to like action/adventure shows that revolve around women, because they're relatively rare, but this one didn't work out despite quite a lot of initial promise. There was a time when I'd have kept on watching this despite the pacing, but not this year. There's a part of me that still regrets not powering through to watch all of Katana Maidens.

  • Violet Evergarden: This is a beautiful and well crafted show, one that by all rights I should have been more fond of than I actually was. I have theories about why I wound up failing to really be pulled in emotionally, but they're at best hand-waving over the fundamental reality that this is yet another KyoAni show that didn't work for me.

  • Lupin III Part V: Lupin is a classic series and has been doing its general action and adventure thing for a long time, with a well honed stable of characters and a bunch of movies that I've generally enjoyed and so on. It definitely feels like I should enjoy Lupin TV series, and it also feels almost like an obligation as an anime fan to do so. But I keep bouncing off the actual TV series, with the notable exception of The Woman Called Mine Fujiko. Apparently I don't love these classical characters quite enough to follow them around for six or twelve hours or so at a time, even if that time is spread out over one or two cours.

  • Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory: As I put it, the magic leaked out for me somewhere over the past decade (or more) since the last time there was any Full Metal Panic!. The good news is that the old FMP lives on in my heart, no matter what.

    (It's odd, but this hurts less than Little Witch Academia did last year. I think it's because I already have the pleasant memories of the original Full Metal Panic! series.)

  • My Hero Academia: MHA is pretty good shonen action and all of that, and I stopped watching it just before a climactic arc or two that were apparently very good. My feelings on dropping it is that this says something about the pacing issues endemic in a long-running shonen series and also something about how long I'm willing to watch one series these days. I look back on the days when I could watch a hundred episodes or more of something and wonder how I did it.

    (Possible the answer is 'less other things to eat up my time with'.)

Then there's some shows that I'm more mildly let down and sad about, where it doesn't hurt as much that I and the show didn't work out.

  • GeGeGe no Kitaro: There's a lot of nice things about Kitaro, and it would be a perfectly wholesome show to follow on a regular basis (with some great characters). I just don't have any real interest in following a kids show, because some of the things inherent in its nature leave me too unenthused.

    Sadly this is a bad omen for me ever really enjoying any of the Precure iterations, because they're fundamentally kids shows too.

  • Golden Kamuy: This is an acclaimed action and adventure manga with some great characters and a well realized anime version (bears excepted), but I wound up not really caring about what was going on.

    Looking back over everything that worked for me and didn't work for me this year, I suspect that this is a sign that I'm losing my interest in straight action stories. Over and over again this year, I've passed or dropped shows where the primary appeal was action and intricate cunning plots going on. It's not just Golden Kamuy, it's also things like A.I.C.O., Angolmois, Sirius the Jaeger, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Persona 5 The Animation (and Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory to some extent).

    (On the other hand I definitely enjoyed B - The Beginning, for all that it was very firmly planted in this genre. It wasn't anywhere near high art, but B knew full well how to be both entertaining and compulsively watchable.)

  • Darling in the FranXX: I said way back when that I didn't have high expectations for DarliFra, which is why I'm not more let down when I decided that it wasn't interesting enough to continue watching. When you don't expect much to start with, there's not much letdown when it doesn't work out.

(I don't list Hinamatsuri here simply because comedies failing for me is the routine state of life.)

Writing this up has helped me clarify and put into words some things that I was already feeling in my gut. For instance, it seems pretty likely that Vinland Saga is not going to be something that I enthusiastically watch in 2019, since it falls straight into the general genre area of Golden Kamuy and other similar things.

As with last year, I'm deliberately excluding shows that I finished, even though I have things I could say there (and I may do so in another entry). This is for shows that didn't work out to such an extent that I stopped watching them.

(This is part of the 12 Days of Anime 2018.)

Written on 21 December 2018.
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Last modified: Fri Dec 21 18:09:23 2018
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