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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Yuru Yuri Season 3!:

Coming off of the magnificent sales figures of its just released OVA in February (around 9,000 copies sold), it looks like the people behind the curtains and doors have decided more Yuru Yuri would be a financially sound decision.  In fact, just a week after the sales figures were released showing the success of the OVA, they went ahead and green-lit a third whole tv season.

Now that's what I call responding to the market!  Viva la Capitalism!

The ova was mainly filler, except for the funny segments that occurred before the actual summer vacation trip.  Even so, if that's what it took to secure a third season, the ova was well worth buying!

Yuru Yuri is already ranked an extremely high 59th in my anime rankings already, so I doubt it will soar much higher just by having a third season.  Most additional anime material is 'more of the same' and doesn't dramatically improve or weaken a series' worth, which is more established by how good its central premise was at the very beginning.  In other words, the worth of an anime tends to be seen at the beginning, when a problem is introduced, and at the ending, where it is resolved.  The stuff in the middle tends to be pretty weak and ignorable either way.  Since the Yuru Yuri manga is still ongoing, a third season won't include a good ending, it will just be more of the fluffy middle material that floats around aimlessly in search of humorous situations.  Yuru Yuri will be delightful, I am sure, but looking back it will feel like nothing actually happened across the entire season, sort of like watching 12 episodes of Ranma 1/2 in the middle of Ranma's tv run.

A good way to avoid the 'useless middle' curse is for there to be semi-independent arcs in your anime.  Dragonball had Frieza, Cell, and Buu operate as roughly three separate stories within one, so it always felt like you were in the very meat of the content.  Prince of Tennis always has Seigaku playing a different team in a different round of the tournament, as does Saki, so there's always a refreshing beginning or ending to each contest.  In One Piece, it's whenever they enter or leave a new island, there's always a revitalizing wind at these moments that feels like everything is fresh and new again.  Yuru Yuri does not have this.  In fact, most comedy-centric, gag-centric series don't have any reset button like sports and fighting series do.  They just keep on making the same jokes about the same situations, and try to stay funny and cute for as long as possible using roughly the same material since day one.  This is why the Ika Musume manga is barely ever funny anymore.  300 chapters in to the story, every possible joke has already been said a thousand times by now.  There's nothing original or interesting about the content left to say, and the plot refuses to move forward in any new direction.  Yuru Yuri is much better than this.  Its latest manga chapters are still cute and funny, just like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (both of which are shorter than Ika Musume and thus at a healthier point in their stellar life cycle than Ika Musume is now at).  As such, I'd much rather have a new season of Yuru Yuri anime than Ika Musume anime -- but I'd much rather have a new season of Spice and Wolf anime than either of these choices.  In Spice and Wolf, at least I could find out what happens once they reach that city in the north. . .

I'm sounding pretty cynical here, but actually I'm overjoyed to have new Yuru Yuri coming.  It's eminently deserving and will likely be the best show of whatever season it airs in.  I'm just saying, if Santa is handing out Christmas presents, a more plot-driven series could use a sequel better than a comedy-driven one can.  Claymore would sure like another chance, and its manga is already finished so you could actually include the true ending this time.  It is amusing that just a couple posts ago I was complaining about a lack of Yuru Yuri season 3, and here it is, as though directly coming on schedule to assuage my gripes.  The same thing happened when I questioned why a new Nanoha season hadn't come out yet.  The day after said post Nanoha Vivid was announced, which will be airing in just a few weeks now.  Sadly, my voodoo power over anime studios has yet to produce a new season of Full Metal Panic, or an adaption of key's Rewrite visual novel. . .

Meanwhile, I finished rewatching Chihayafuru season 2.  The only thing left on my schedule is Ojamajo, and that only when Doremi happens to release its new HD season batches.  My New Year's Resolution is as good as cleared.  It took quite a while, but it's a great feeling of relief.  I backed up my praise of all of these shows by watching them all over again, so that I can proudly say that every show I have in my rankings I've both watched and rewatched, proving that my decisions were in no way whimsical but confirmed beyond all doubt.  Of course, this doesn't apply to shows that just aired in 2014, who don't even have a blu-ray release out yet.  But everything that aired in 2013 or below I've now watched twice -- except for Ojamajo whom Doremi is currently working on the HD release of.  That's not my fault!  I can't help it that the HD release isn't out yet, so there's naught to be done about it except wait.  Every series in my 170 strong rankings I've been given the technical opportunity to rewatch, I've now rewatched.  That's a fidelity and love that exceeds anyone else I know.  Some of the shows I've seen three times, or five, or even more.  (Sword Art Online, I'm looking at you: >>).  But two is already plenty of love to prove my point.  If I can watch these shows twice over, the rest of the world can at least watch them once.  I wouldn't be praising them so highly if they weren't just that plain good.

One Punch Man has also been announced to be receiving an anime.  It's a very popular manga, but the premise never impressed me so I've never looked at it before.  I'll be waiting to see if the anime manages to impress me, since I'm always curious when it comes to popular works why exactly they receive so much buzz.

As you can see, in this link:, out of the top 30 best selling manga in Japan, 28 either already had an anime adaption, or were already promised to receive one (like Shokugeki no Soma which starts in a few weeks.)  One Punch Man was 28th on this list, and one of the only two manga series that didn't have an anime.  It now has an anime -- an entirely predictable result given the trend of all the other shows.  The last remaining best selling manga of 2014 without an anime?  "Kyo wa Kaisha Yasumimasu."  A shoujo romance manga that already has a live-action adaption.  Maybe they didn't feel the need for an anime?  But with 29 of the 30 manga series getting an anime, I have to believe it's only a matter of time before the 30th one gets one too.

However, this reinforces my belief that anime is going to find it extremely difficult to animate any further good new source material.  Every single popular manga series is already accounted for now.  One Punch Man was the second to last possibility for them to start a new good series.  New Game is wildly popular, but it only has two volumes on sale so far, far too short to make an anime about.  This year is taking care of all the last remaining good possibilities, this year picks the last of the low hanging fruit.  In 2016 they're either going to have to bet on unpopular series, where they turn a complete no-name manga into an anime hit through good advertising or choreography or something (basically what they did for K-On, an otherwise little-recognized manga series until Kyoto Animation got their hands on it), or they're going to have to start making sequels of older good series again.  Might I suggest Bleach?  Kenichi?  Rurouni Kenshin?  Flame of Recca?  Berserk?  Guyver?  The amount of unanimated material from old great series is tremendous.  The possibilities are endless, so long as you're willing to dip back into older franchises once more.  But if you keep trying to find new things, you're going to start clutching at straws.  The anime industry can't possibly last if it relies on newbie, unpopular manga series suddenly 'getting hot' one lucky stroke after the next.  That may happen every now and then, but generally speaking an unpopular manga is unpopular because it's bad, not because it just hasn't received a good anime adaption yet.  The idea that anime studios can just pick an unpopular series at random and 100% of the time turn it into a hit is ludicrous.  If they want to make a profit, they're going to have to rely on proven success stories, and that means popular manga series, and that means older manga series they never bothered to animate fully in the first place.

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