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Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Lost World' anime Update:

The problem with Daa! Daa! Daa! is that it is too long.  The manga the anime is sourced from is only 46 chapters long, and yet the anime is 78 episodes.  Yes, these chapters are twice as large as normal, but even then you're talking a maximum of 46 episodes of anime.  An anime should cover at least two chapters of manga per episode, like Dragon Ball Kai which covered 2.3 chapters per episode in its filler-less remake.  Daa Daa Daa didn't get a remake, so it's full of useless filler.  To be precise, the last three episodes of the anime are filler, but on top of that, random time-wasting segments are inserted into the entire rest of the series just to slow things down, to the equivalent of 19 additional episodes of filler.  These time wasting segments are probably the dull, repetitive jokes concerning dull, one-dimensional side characters with annoying personalities.  It gets so bad that sometimes you just want to skip ahead during the episode until the side characters are gone again.

It's difficult for a comedy to remain interesting or funny for a long duration.  Eventually it feels like every possible joke concerning said characters has already been told and there's nothing funny left to say.  This same problem afflicts every good comedy series, whether it's Seitokai no Ichizon, Ika Musume or Kitakubu.  Even Noucome is suffering from its reliance on repeat gags and it's only 9 episodes long so far.  When it comes to comedy series, less is more.  The shorter your series, the fresher your jokes, the better the overall product will be.  Daa! Daa! Daa!, at 78 episodes, is just way too long for any possible comedy to survive.  26 episodes is already ambitious enough, and is the average for all these other good comedy shows.  Nor is it any use to mix in romance with the comedy -- if it had been primarily a romance story with a dash of comedy, the story could go on for quite a while.  But a comedy with a silly romance on the side is simply enveloped by the overwhelming comic portions and you can't take the romance aspect seriously in the end either.  For instance, Noucome has romantic developments, but you can't take any of them seriously or get very invested in them, because the silliness is just an overwhelming portion of every character involved.  Haganai, on the other hand, is primarily a romance, or at least a show built around human relationships, and the comedy keeps itself to a smaller role that only adds to the spice of the developing characters' feelings.

Haganai can be as long as it likes and I'll always love it, but comedy-only shows don't have that luxury, because there is nothing appealing about them except the very next gag line.  If too many gags fail in a row it just becomes a boring waste of time.

Without the filler, the anime would have been 46 episodes long.  But on top of that, to stay a good comedy, it would have had to condense that material down into just a 26 episode series.  If it covered 2 chapters of manga per episode, with each of these chapters being double length, it could have had enough developments per episode in terms of characters and romance to keep our attention.  As it is, it's just like eating water soup because there's no more gruel left to stave off starvation.  No matter how much Daa Daa Daa you watch, you didn't receive any additional informational content than you already had before.

In contrast, H2 is a very slow anime.  At 41 episodes, it only covers 76 chapters of manga.  But at least the action keeps moving along and the story keeps developing from one episode to the next.  Nothing ever stands still in H2.  Things are happenings.  Things are changing every day.  Actions have meaning.  Words have meaning.  What happened before affects what happens next.  And the story is so enthralling I read all the remaining chapters after chapter 76 to the end, chapter 338, in just two days.  That's when you have a good story.  That's when you know you aren't just wasting your audience's time.

At 101 episodes, Touch is an extremely long anime, but that's okay because it covers 257 chapters of manga, from the very beginning to the very end of the story.  Each episode actually has a ton of content in it which moves the story forward.  There's something to get excited about, an important line of dialogue that actually changes how people feel, delivered in each and every episode.  Both H2 and Touch have humor in them, but they are really about human relationships, which is far more gripping for a far longer duration.  If you want a long show, create a sophisticated situation and deep characters like Adachi does with his stories.  Don't just keep repeating the same jokes and have a baby fly around.  78 episodes of flying babies is just too many.

Hopefully I can finish watching the rest of Daa! Daa! Daa!  Since the last three episodes of the anime that haven't been subbed yet are filler anyway, it's now possible to watch the series in full.  If I do finish watching it, it can stay in my rankings, because I really did love the first twenty episodes or so.  If I don't I'll kick it out in favor of some new winter show.

Futakoi is another story.  The original season of Futakoi was charming.  The guy had a few too many love interests by the end, but the girls were so cute anything can be forgiven.  Futakoi Alternative though, is absolute garbage.  The plot is basically non-existent, the art style is just some director going on acid trips and doing whatever he feels like, the animation is totally random just for the sake of randomness, and the relationships between the characters are abysmal.  Just watching Renji with the Shirogane sisters makes you want to strangle all three of them to death, they're so infuriating.  Futakoi is in a situation similar to Lodoss War -- the oav series was fantastic, but the TV series after that were all garbage.  If you averaged the quality together Lodoss War would be worthless -- but if you take the original story as a self-contained story with a good beginning and a good end, the show still has a lot of merit.  When I rank Futakoi, I mean solely Futakoi -- as far as I'm concerned Futakoi Alternative never existed and I never saw it.  If I look at it that way, Futakoi is still a good series.  But no thanks to that awful, unrelated, spinoff sequel.  Never confuse the two.

Ojamajo Doremi is terrible compared to Precure, but you can still see the common ancestry between them.  I'm still on the fence concerning this series.  It's tremendously long, but at least they are gradually leveling up towards becoming full fledged mages, so the story isn't just episodically sitting in place.  It can stay in my rankings for now.

Tales of 'x' doesn't get much support from Abyss, which just does not have appealing characters or a comprehensible plot.  Eternia is much better, but its low budget and short duration cuts down its appeal.  Symphonia is probably the gem of this franchise, with the Vesperia movie being a close second.  The Phantasia oav's are both old and short, so there's not much to gain there.  Only by combining them all together can you possibly say this series deserves a ranking, but that's okay because that's how franchises are judged.

Jigoku Shoujo's second and third seasons are better than the first season.  They have interesting sub-plots that help close out their respective seasons with good characters.  The art and voice acting are just top notch.  However, the show is still episodic and feels like it just wanders around aimlessly from scene to scene.  111 is probably the right ranking overall.

Gakuen Alice is cute, with great art and voice acting and a charming romance aspect.  However, it's way too short and doesn't accurately follow its source.  You feel like the anime really fell short of its potential, so a spot like 153 is about right.

Myself;Yourself is short but powerful.  It deals with serious themes in a deft and believable manner.  You come out really liking the male leads in this show even though you normally don't in these 'harem like' story scenarios.  The voice acting is also tremendous in this show, featuring a ton of top talent.

Kokoro Toshokan is basically overly sweet.  It relies on magic and people being way nicer than is natural to keep the story upbeat.  Kokoro is cute, and cute is justice, so the show is still good.  It's just not very filling, in terms of depth of content, so 110 is about right for it.

Maria-sama ga Miteru is a classic and a masterpiece.  Now they just need to make the next season already.

Rocket Girls, on the other hand, is just fine ending as a short series.  In that short space of time, a lot happens, and all of it is extremely memorable.  I pretty much adore everything about this series and dislike nothing.

Binbou Shimai Monogatari has some strong episodes and some weak episodes, but the better episodes are good enough to excuse the worse ones.  Overall it's a touching, sweet journey through the ups and downs of life.

Aishiteru ze Baby is like Usagi Drop, except longer and better.  I have zero complaints with this show.  It was funny, touching, and exciting from start to finish.

So far, canvassing the entirety of anime's past has netted me 14 new ranked shows.  But of those 14, 2, Ojamajo Doremi and Daa! Daa! Daa!, are still suspect.  Out of hundreds of possibly good series, it really is impressive how few diamonds remained.  Still, the ones that did remain were wonderful experiences, from Rocket Girls to H2, so I don't regret the project at all.

It appears the #2 and #3 best selling light novel series, Kagerou Days and Mahouka Rettosai, will both have their anime adaptions airing this coming April.  As a result, the spring 2014 anime season is looking great.  The winter season looks so awful that all I can do is ignore it and look forward to next spring.  But that's okay, that's why we have the Sochi 2014 Olympics, right?

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