Blog Archive

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lost World Anime First Impressions: (Part Ten)

This is my final Lost World post, as I've now finally viewed and reviewed the entirety of my list that began this long and fruitful journey.  After this is done, my goal is to watch at least three episodes of all the series I passed.  Once that is done, my new Anime Rankings post can come next, which will include everything I got from here to become the most comprehensive and perfect rankings possible.  That may take some time as well, but if you just keep plugging away any task is possible.  Now for the final eleven series' reviews:

Tsukuyomi Moon Phase:  Another show animated by Shaft, and with it comes the requisite Shaft-isms.  The ridiculously addictive opening song with no attempt to make any sense.  The awesome dramatic head twists and eye zooms.  The artistic touches on the backgrounds that seem to respond to the character's feelings instead of the laws of physics.  The beautiful but creepy girl.  This is like the Bakemonogatari before Bakemonogatari, all the way down to the Apparitions and the exorcists who make up the main cast.  The voice acting for this story is also stellar, just like it is in Bakemonogatari.  Hazuki, our loli vampire of this show, is voiced by Chiwa Saito, who I just got done praising in Kokoro Toshokan.  In addition, Fumihiko Tachiko plays her butler, Vigo.  The only complaint I can think of for this story is it doesn't have any direction it can really progress in from here.  In Inuyasha, there was a clear goal to collect the Shikon no Tama by the end of the first episode.  For this show, I honestly have no idea what it's going to be about.  The first episode, however, was one of the best in this 'lost world' I've seen so far.  If this keeps up it will definitely be in my rankings.  Pass.

Twin Spica:  Melodramatic.  This show needs to understand that there's nothing sad about people dying at random.  It's so random that death becomes meaningless.  People who die fighting for their dreams are tragic, people who die randomly are just farces.  It's just the ridiculous stupidity of this world, that can't provoke anything in the human heart except dumb disbelief and shock.  Kodomo no Jikan made me cry because the mother fought her cancer the best she could, but still couldn't win.  This show just has a mother getting hit by stray shrapnel while walking around town.   The two couldn't be more different.  In addition, there's a particular Japanese tradition that gods can't show their faces.  It's in Sasami-san@Gambaranai as well.  Unfortunately, it's a really annoying tradition because it creates artistic nonsense like a guy with a lion kigurumi head talking naturally all episode long like his clothes aren't totally ridiculous and out of place.  I don't like the art style to begin with, and the father slapping his daughter before even asking for an explanation for her actions is really bad parenting.  I know he was at the end of his rope by then and had been going through a lot of mental strain because of his daughter's eccentric actions, but that's still no reason to judge someone before even having the trial.  We even give murderers a chance at trial, so it isn't asking much to try and treat your own daughter justly.  Fail.

UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie:  Breasts bonanza.  I guess it makes some sense given that he works at a bathhouse.  And given that magical girls must be nude during transformation sequences.  There's always an excuse.  And all the cat eared girls are because they're aliens.  But the up front presentation with no rhyme or reason behind it is still distracting and tiresome.  It's the same meat market Ottoman sultan problem we faced in Green Green.  No tact, no style in the visuals, just 'here you go.'  The plot as such really doesn't make sense either.  An alien fell from the sky and apparently killed our hero.  As restitution she used magic that made her small and stupid but in return he got to live again.  Now they live out their days together causing each other nothing but trouble.  Bleh.  Totally random, and nothing chosen by either character.  This show sucks.  Even without all the bad ecchi thrown in, it would have sucked anywayIt figures, though, all old anime tended to be like this.  This is an era we eventually surpassed.  Fail.

Ultimate Girls:  This show is an ecchi parody of Ultraman.  If you aren't a fan of Ultraman, most of the content of this show flies right over your head.  The girls are cute and the ecchi aspects are pretty humorous, but ultimately I don't think this flies for anyone outside of that special niche.  Just like it would be silly for non-Gundam fans to watch spinoff shows like Gundam Builders.  Or non train fans to watch anime about train stations or train traveling hobbyists.  Boy that anime was terrible.   Anyway, I can't even watch Super Sentai because the production value is too low, much less the even older and lower budget Ultraman.  An anime that mimics that terrible production value is setting the bar too low.  Fail.

Ultra Maniac:  A show where magic is used to solve problems magic should never solve.  For instance, a girl has a crush on a guy, so she uses magic to make him love her.  Compulsion is apparently cute these days.  In any case, the story has no actual problems, just girls with way too much power on their hands than they know what to do with.  Without any problems, there's no plot, so the story just meanders through comedy that isn't actually funny.  Fail.

Uta Kata:  An inoffensive but boring show.  Apparently a girl failed her first time around as a mahou shojo, so she travels back in time and recruits her previous self to do it in her place.  This creates a rather strange time paradox, but I'm sure it works out somehow.  Everyone seems nice, and the art is pretty enough.  I just don't know, after watching a show like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this type of mahou shojo story seems so lacking.  What could it possibly do that other shows haven't long surpassed already?  In a world with Pretty Cure, is Uta Kata even necessary?  Nevertheless, my standards for this first cut are simply if a show is watchable or not, it doesn't have to be as good as my favorite anime series of all time.  If you have the time, you may as well waste it on Uta Kata, just so long as you've exhausted every other ranked series that's already above it.  Pass.

Venus Versus Virus:  This show sucks.  It's overflowing with attempts to be cool instead of rational.  For instance, the girl fights her beasts with a revolver, but holds it one handed, sideways, instead of with a proper stance, because it's cooler that way.  Also,  an idiot keeps a glass vase near a girl he knows is feverish and thrashing about in bed, and then acts surprised when she accidentally knocks the vase to the floor and breaks it.  A girl shoots another girl with a berserker bullet, but then doesn't run away so that she isn't caught up with the rampage she should know is about to come.  A girl smirks cockily in a fight she hasn't won at all, and ends up losing the fight while the whole time staying overconfident both before she lost and after she's saved.  Maybe she should take some of that overconfidence and turn it into more training time so she can actually live up to her smirks?  Anyway, it's just a horrid piece of writing that makes every possible mistake, all based around the idea that it 'looks cooler this way.'  It doesn't look cool.  It just looks stupid.  Fail.

W Wish:  Too short!  Why did it have to end at just 12 minutes?  From what little we got to see, the story looks like this.  A family consisted of a mother, a father, and a pair of twins, one male and one female.  One day the family went on a car ride with just the son, upon which they got in a horrible accident.  The parents died and the son was left with amnesia.  As such, when he reunited with his twin sister, he had no memories of growing up with her -- thus abolishing the Westermark effect.  We don't know what these twins actually feel for each other, but the school has decided that even the potential is enough to merit snatching these twins apart, the only people left in their lives who know or care about them, in order to nip the scourge of incest in the bud.  Since this is outrageous, as the amnesiac boy's only emotional support is this girl who stood by him, even though he only remembers of her as a total stranger he met the day of the accident, he refuses to go along with their plan of putting them in separate student dormitories and insists they live together in the house they've always shared.  Good for him.  God, this persecution of incest is so ridiculous.  You would take a guy's only surviving family member, a guy with no memories of ever being loved in his life, away from the one person who loves him in this world?  Because you're afraid they might love each other too much?  Just listen to yourself.  It's okay to leave someone without any love at all, but it's not okay if someone is loved more than normal?  What kind of anti-world do we live in?  When did love become the problem and not the solution?  Just to spite these god damn society meddlers, I hope the twins do embark on a sexual relationship and have lots of kids.  But I doubt the story will go that way.  The opening has a cute girl with a ribbon in her hair that hasn't been introduced yet, and she's probably the real love interest of the story.  Well, no matter, I'm already hooked on finding out what will happen next.  The fact that he stood by his twin and against authority is good enough for me, no matter what happens next.  Pass.

Wandaba Style:  This is obviously one of those shows where the artist did it for himself instead of the audience.  He creates silly drawings that he just really wanted to draw, and forces us to see them.  He makes lewd and slapstick jokes he thinks are hilarious, and makes us all 'enjoy' them too.  It reminds me a lot of Rave, with all those awful, terrible gags of weird creatures, Jigglebutt squads, shaking heads, so on and so forth.  God I hated Rave.  Once Hiro Mashima got it in his head that manga was for the audience's sake, and not just a place to put everything he had ever thought was funny in his childhood imagination, that names shouldn't just be randomly grabbed from musical jargon but should actually sound like a real fantasy world we could live in like Middle Earth has, so on and so forth, he went from making an unwatchably bad story to one of the best manga-ka of all time with Fairy Tail.  And the only difference was his retiring of all the gags he used to draw for himself at our expense.  That's all it took to switch from terrible to good.  Whoever did Wandaba Style should learn the same.  Fail

Weiss Survive R:  The exact same problem for this show.  The author doesn't care at all about the audience, and just does shocking things to please himself.  Random weird creatures, like ugly old men with beards instead of standard cute pixies, because it's funnier that way.  Showing the guy in the shower instead of the girl because it's funny that way.  Using suggestive language when there's no reason anyone would, because it's funnier that way.  In just a matter of minutes, the author does everything possible to shock and prank his audience until the show blissfully ends.  How do these guys get through quality control?  Who likes this shit?  Fail.

Wind A Breath of Heart:  Yet another show that cares more about being creative than the audience.  Do all series that start with W stand for 'Wagamama,' (ie, Selfish) in Japan?  Rather than focus on developing a plot and characters, this show decided to develop their mad CG skills.  They built everything in CG around really dull, bad artwork they put no effort into, then had the camera pan and spin like crazy to show off that their CG was in 3d.  They would switch to first person perspective and pull a blair witch jerky cam on us for no known reason.  They would blur the focus of a scene so that our eyes hurt unless we looked at the desired subject.  Every producer's trick in the book, like it was from some stupid film school, instead of an anime meant to  entertain an audience.  Lost in the shuffle of all this weird nonsense were a bunch of bland people I could care less about.  In any case, there's no way I would wade through that style of presentation to get at the story even if it were good.  What a waste, to take a visual novel made by Minori, the same people who did Ef, and totally ruin it like this just to give some cameraman his own kicks.  Fail.

 * * *

That completes my review of all 'lost world' anime.  The end result was 54 'passes' and 82 'fails,' or a 40% success rate.  Now to take these 54 series and watch more from each of them, and filter them down again.  Passing a first impression is much easier than getting watched to the very end -- Mushibugyo was good enough for a few episodes after all.  What series I actually end up watching to the very end are probably going to be the ones I'll include in my rankings in the future.  Therefore, the next you'll hear about these series will be when I post my new anime rankings, with all of these new shows included in the competition for the first time.

Based off these reviews, I can say with certainty that anime is getting better over time.  Also, that there are tremendous numbers of great voice actors in Japan.  Also, that Jpop has improved tremendously over time.  The number of old series with good opening or ending songs from this list was almost zero.  Nowadays something like 1/3 of opening songs are great from each new anime season.  And even though people constantly complain about the amount of ecchi shown in shows today, it's actually a lot more delicate and tasteful than it was in the past.  They should be thankful that it's been toned down to this level, not whining about how we have to censor it even more.

I also think anime is getting far more creative than it used to be.  All these complaints about every show being like K-On.  Well, that's still a lot better than every show being about unearned romances, cool guys holding their guns wrong, or poor Saint Mary having to watch over endless dens of lesbian sin.  Is she like the patron goddess of yuri or something?  Back in the day, anime never could have produced a show like Kitakubu, which randomly turns its characters into stars and lines just to make fun of constellations.  Or a show like Kitakubu, where suddenly Goethe's Erlkoenig is being read out loud as the opening.  Or a show like Kitakubu, where a game of survival musical chairs ends up with everyone winning except the devilish game designer.  Or a show like Kitakubu, where stairs are made to look like some horror scene straight out of Another because a girl is far too fragile to walk all the way to the top.  The amount of originality in just one show this summer exceeds like 10 years of past anime combined.  To complain about a lack of originality now is just spoiled whining, with no basis in fact whatsoever.

Having completely traversed the past, I don't think many shows have much chance of penetrating my higher rankings.  Perhaps Jigoku Shoujo can enter the top 50.  But most will probably be hanging around the bottom of the totem pole, even if they do get in.  In the end sweeping up all the dregs at the bottom of a barrel isn't likely to produce much fine wine.  If it really were a good show, I would have heard of it before now.  After watching them, I can confirm I didn't miss much.  However, there were a lot of great shows, like Kokoro Toshokan, that were far better than the likes of Mushibugyou, and for that I'm thankful.  The best of the past can beat the mediocre of the present, so instead of just watching what's readily available because it's coming out now, a true aficionado of anime would go the extra mile and find these gems from the days of yore instead.  Hopefully this guide serves other fans well.  54 series still await you.  Happy hunting~

No comments: