End-of-Month Rundown – January 2015

Click to view full-size
Click to view full-size

January is finally behind us. Good riddance, you cold bitch! However, we did discover some gems in the icy bleakness, and February will prove no warmer around here, weather-wise.

This month, let’s do something different, and see if we’ve actually learned the lessons we listed in last month’s rundown:

1. Don’t stick with a show that may look and sound great but seems to be perpetually stalling.

Uso and Parasyte have slowed down, but remain watchable, for now. GARO is its usual episodic hit-or-miss self, and Gundam G is just a joke we keep around to point and laugh at as a shining example of how NOT to make a Gundam, a mecha anime, or a television show in general.

2. Avoid shows you can’t say anything nice about. 

We’ve dropped eight shows to date, all of which you could probably say one or two nice things about, but not much else.

3. Don’t keep reviewing shows you can’t say anything at all about, aside from providing a summary.

Check.

4. Shows that air bi- or tri-weekly have a much greater chance of falling by the wayside.

Preston lost interest and dropped Sailor Moon Crystal, and while Kami-Haji 2 took a week off, that was an anomaly, and in any case the show is more than good enough to survive one week off. Check.

5. Don’t judge a book by its cover…

Shout it from the rooftops: SAEKANO!!! What on it’s surface looked like another competent InoBato/Oreimo harem rom-com is in the early running for anime of the year…no joke.

(Also, if you so desire, whisper KanColle from the basement.)

Other surprises: Binan Koukou (positive) and Death Parade (negative); see Franklin’s comments below.

6. …Unless the cover is obviously representative of the book.

Seiken Tsukai no World Break, Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha, Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes TD, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, and Sengoku Musou were pretty much what we thought they were.

Koufuku Graffiti also didn’t hide what it was on it’s cover, but both cover and book are splendidly delicious, so Check!

7. Drop shows quickly and focus on giving the shows you really love the attention they deserve; don’t drag things out.

Check and Check, thanks to Franklin’s bracket. We’ve managed to keep our total show count down while giving everything a relatively fair shake.

8. While it’s nice to run comparisons between two similar shows, it’s probably best to pick one or the other in a busy season.

Not quite a Check, since we’re keeping both Yatterman and Rolling Girls around, and that will remain so for the time being, because both have their individual merits.

9. Don’t automatically commit to sequels. They might end up stinking.

Tokyo Ghoul Root A has had moments that have surpassed the original, while Durarara!!x2 Shou was a little harder to get back into after a few years, but it coming along just fine. Aldnoah.Zero has mostly recovered from its unfortunate first season finale. Everyone here can agree, none of these sequels “stink” anywhere near the way Chaika did. God, that show still makes Preston steam.

10. Have fun!

We added this new lesson to this rundown, because RABUJOI was started so we could sharpen our writing and critical skills while enjoying anime we love. If there’s no RABU or JOI in it, what’s the point?

9 thoughts on “End-of-Month Rundown – January 2015”

  1. Naturally, we had a few notable divergences from MAL this month. (rating Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, YuriKuma and Binan Koukou significantly higher and Death Parade significantly lower)

    This is not exactly surprising, as we tend to give shows extra credit for ‘whats going on under the surface’ compared to many viewers. Likewise, we don’t have much genre loyalty and therefore don’t cut shows like World Break, Demon Stepsisters or Absolute Duo any slack. (to be fair, MAL rates all of those shows in the low 7s, and all the other harems I dropped in the 6s)

    Zane already responded to YuriKuma and I think we all agree the complexity of its social criticism, merged with it’s use of repetition and pattern and weirdness make it easy to understand why most people don’t get this ‘yuri’ show.

    That said, I am surprised Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata isn’t getting much love either. At a quarter point below Absolute Duo, a show that is a cliche and not even a well drawn one, SHnS’s intelligent humor is still bolstered by pretty girls and plenty of solid ecchi. (at least in episode zero) Is there not enough skin shown? Are viewers losing steam on the ‘girls who make manga’ sub-thread? Are they somehow not aggressive enough in their pursuit of mister protagonist?

    1. Okay, I’ll be that guy.

      I “get” Yuri Kuma. I also don’t think Yuri Kuma is very good. I’m not saying I don’t like it. I’m not saying I don’t think it’s very good.

      For starters, social commentary doesn’t make a show good for me, so that’s out.

      As for symbolism, a lot of it feels basic. It’s school-grade symbolism where you can point to it and go “This means this!” That’s not interpretation, just deduction. A big reason for this is because Ikuni has always been an artist with no sense of nuance, pacing, or restraint. He’s the Julie Taymor of anime.

      Maybe you like Julie Taymore. I don’t. I saw Turn Off the Dark as a vindication.

      This is just my opinion on the show’s quality. Obviously, I’m in the minority on this one. I dropped it after three episodes and haven’t commented on it because I don’t want to be a downer. But what drives me nuts is that the supporters of this show insist that people who don’t like it don’t “get” it.

      1. fair enough.

        I do think you are the double minority then, because I’ve read a bit of criticism about the show and its generally boils down to ‘I don’t care about yuri’ or ‘I don’t get it’ which are surface responses.

        There’s a vibrance to it all in addition to having a hidden message (and it is hidden by anime standards) that I find enticing. Unique, I suppose? And unique is huge in my book for anime.

      2. Especially since the writers here are in full agreement that the show is awesome, don’t feel the need to keep quiet just because you’re worried about being a “downer” or “that guy”! Opposing views will always have a place here in the comments, though in some cases Franklin’s negativity can lead to some people’s parades getting rained on (*cough*PRESTON*cough*) .

        For the record, I never meant my deeper analysis into the show as a means to educate the poor masses who “just don’t get it.” I’m fully aware that this is not going to be a universally acclaimed show, and not just because of the yuri theme or a perceived lack of comprehension.

        I personally just love the film student geeking out about it…or anything else, for that matter. My opinion of Matrix sequels was greatly improved after reading an exhaustive exegesis of it, pointing out every symbol and every mythological analogue.

        Heck, I derive secondary entertainment all the time from hearing others’ opinions of shows I watch. The A.V. Club is one of my most-used bookmarks. Its nice to have my opinions validated, but just as nice to hear the other side, which in some cases I may not have even considered!

        I think a ridiculous play like Titus Andronicus really benefited from Taymor’s hedonistic style. But I’ve seen none of her other films or her musicals, and I’ve never really had the compulsion to. Nor do I go and watch Titus every year. I think the comparison is fair.

        As for being in the minority, if you add all the people who rated Yurikuma low because they truly didn’t get it, along with the people who did and still just didn’t think it’s very good…I wouldn’t be surprised if Franklin and I were in the minority!

      3. Hahahahahaha Yeah… man Preston’s husband sure can throw a left hook can’t he? Shit! I should have known “Or forever keep your peace” was meant as a warning for jackasses to say something at a wedding!

      4. I would also like to add for the record that my dislike for the show in no way extends to people who like it, and certainly not to you guys. And I don’t think either of you are talking down to those who don’t get it. Everyone’s reviews here, even when I disagree with them, are fantastic.

        As an aside, I had to teach Taymor’s Titus a few times as a TA in college. It was my professor’s favorite film. It remains my least favorite released film. What really killed me with Titus was the audio commentary. Just as an example, there’s a moment where Saturninus is wearing pajamas and walking through a hall. When he passes through a doorway, he’s suddenly in more formal clothing. On the audio commentary, Taymor explains exactly what this image means (that he was now in a more serious mode, basically). The imagery was like an inside joke. Whether or not it was funny was immaterial.

        A representative image is an easy thing to make, honestly. This is especially true if there’s no synergy between or nuance within the images. If the full meaning can be explained by getting a reference or doing a Google search, I’m not impressed.

        I’d put Madoka and Urobuchi himself up for comparison against Yuri Kuma and Ikuni to demonstrate the difference I’m trying to articulate. I’m sure a lot of people like both, though, given the themes.

      5. never felt any hate fro your comment, nor meant any in return. I ‘get it’ for not liking a show everyone else seems to for… reasons? I mean, gah! Princess Yona! come on! I get it! :)

      6. As for Titus… no. no we agree. I saw it at university. I saw it surrounded by film/animation majors. God that was a mess of a movie. The aesthetic was so inconsistent (or idiosyncratic?) as to ruin any investment in suspension of disbelief… or understanding of what was going on at all. My favorite scene is the ‘boy walks into a blue screen’ at the end. it’s SO BLUE SCREEN it hurts!

  2. Like YuriKuma, Binan Koukou and Death Parade aren’t surprising either.

    At a glance, Binan could be mistaken for BL or an empty parody of the magic genre. Add to that it’s by-design average visuals and lack of an obvious-genre-buster, and the lack of interest is excusable. I mean, Sabagebu would have faced the same challenge if not for Momoka and her immediate twist of character expectation for the genre and anime in general.

    Death Parade is the same… just in the opposite direction. On the surface, the show is very pretty. The gradient light, color pallet, and gothy style bolster the mood, which is also supported by professionally delivered voice work and dialog. It’s just not that deep and dangerously predictable.

    It’s the CSI Miami of anime, if you will. Well produced, easy to watch, there are characters to root for and outcomes with simple but human consequences. There’s nothing wrong with it but it’s hard to seriously think of it as an 8. At least, not based on its first 3 episodes.

Comments are closed.