It's time to narrow down the field of the fall season a bit. The mediocre shows aren't worth watching all the way to the end.
Long Riders is just too vapid and pointless. Yes, I get it, they're cycling. They're friends who enjoy cycling together. There's lots of interesting trivia about how best to cycle. Blah blah blah. What is this, a tour guide? A tutorial? Anime is about telling stories. There has to be something at stake. Some theme. Some goal. This story is directionless. It has no message behind it. It isn't trying to convey anything about the human soul, only about freaking bikes.
Meanwhile, Ikusei Keikaku has the same problem but from a different direction. It, too, is nihilistic, in that there's no solution to the problem set forth. There is no satisfactory message that can be drawn from putting a group of 16 nice girls together and demanding they kill each other off until only half of them remain. That's not a story, it's just a crime. There is nothing karmic about this. There is no right answer or solution. It's just a disturbing and disheartening mass murder of the cutest and nicest people around. I'm not sadistic enough to enjoy a story whose sole premise is 'who will die this week, tune in for another episode of Mass Murder Z!' Is this a snuff film?
The fall season is now down to ten shows, but the ping pong anime may be chucked pretty soon too, so who knows how low the number will eventually go.