Back in the day, before I had the money to import anime, or eve to buy them at a discount, I had access to a VCR and a stack of 5 VHS tapes. I learned to program that VCR for the express purpose of recording Toonami, Adult Swim Anime, and the like on days when I couldn’t make it home. And if there was one show that was my number 1 at the time, it was battle/rivalry series s-CRY-ed.
Fueled almost entirely by banter between the leading duo. Kazuma and Ryuho were as memorable a pair of rivals as I can recall having watched to this day, and the script that was field-raised ham on a whole-wheat drama bun produced a memorable, unique-tasting fight series. And plenty of potable quotes, which is why I’m dedicating this entry to cemented legacy club member director Taniguchi Goro.
And to punching things while yelling loudly
Oh, and incoming spoilers for a 12 year-old show, if you’re averse to that kind of thing.
The first thing that struck me about Wizard Barristers was that the soundtrack wasn’t too great. The show opened with some great, serious action (and animation that, in terms of frames per second, is at least 90th percentile on the season), but the bgm had such a cartoony feel to it that it was hard to get invested in it at all.* Second of all, is it really best to open up a show nominally about lawyers with a death penalty case that gets closed within 5 minutes and after we hear no arguments? I mean, most first-world nations don’t have a death penalty, and those that do take a good deal of time to make sure due process has been carried out. From what I saw, the guy was tried once and burned to death on the spot. It doesn’t speak much in favor of the rule of law in this particular Wizard society, sucking a lot of momentum out of the world the delightfully tacky character designs were trying to build around. The subsequent introduction of the female lead felt like an earnest attempt to get past that, which I can respect, but from then on the episode just felt too straightforward to be engaging.* Too, the dialogue throughout the episode was off somehow. It felt like too many characters were speaking single lines and and the script contained very few real conversations, which made it hard to emphasize with the machinations of the investigation/pretrial process. Sunday’s too crowded with stuff that’s good now for something that might get better later, so this one’s a drop.
*This is one of those places where I feel like an expanded first episode would have helped. Law and Order paces out legal drama over 40 minutes, which really adds real tension to each case. Dangan Ronpa took roughly the same time interval for each case. Half of a 20 minute episode here didn’t feel like nearly enough time.
Somehow, this is already the last day of the season where we’re getting multiple new shows on the same day. I suppose there’s also a common thread that both had a certain degree of visual distinctness, coming as they did from strong directorial stock.
We’re approaching the end of the Winter slate, and we’ve finally hit on the biggest economic-side enigma of the season. Wake Up, Girls had an unusual setup that, nominally, required viewers to watch the movie before the first episode. It’s an interesting setup from a commercial perspective, to say the least. I talked in my post about the upcoming Tamako Love Story movie about how movie sales could be an effective way to tap a larger, less enthusiastic fanbase. Based on the fact that the show is targeting fans from a similar demographic to Love Live’s upcoming season 2, the argument is that it’d be better to get something than nothing. But to make that movie ticket and 50 minutes of time a required entry fee to the franchise seems less advisable. You might simply end up with a really small fanbase if you don’t let them test the waters for free; even if otaku audiences are more willing to burn money on things they might like, this is a season with two sequels to 10k+ shows in the mix for their attention. I didn’t watch the movie and skipped straight to episode 1, because I’m not spending 70 total minutes on an unknown quantity from a director I dislike, general principles or not, until and unless it becomes a known plus.
A lot of stuff came out Thursday, and I don’t have a ton of time, so I watched the first 4 minutes of everything and decided to forego Pupa, Strange+, Mahou Sensou, and Z/X Ignition for varying degrees of spot check failure. The other two new shows did impress, and will be joining my weekly slate alongside The Show That Deserves The Jormungand Soundtrack and Takahiro Omori Unchained.
If you just judged Monday’s slate by their pictures and plot summaries, the day was a bit less ambitious in terms of scope than anything out this weekend. But a lot of times it doesn’t take far-reaching ambition to make serviceable entertainment, just a staff that cares about their product.
Up to this point, this season is batting a thousand in my book; everything I’ve watched up to this point has merited at least 2 more episodes on my own more or less arbitrary scale.* In many ways, it’s already fulfilled its “five fun shows with a genre spread” quota and is already looking for bonus points. The first of which will be coming from Sunday’s lineup, which included a slightly-larger-than-bite-size comedy, a mid-major occult show, and a pair of shows, one original and one via Comic Earth Star, drawing from Japan’s most famous general. All of them were varying degrees of promising, so I’m pretty set for the weekend this Winter.
When we made a countdown podcast hyping the upcoming season, we offhandedly decided not to note that our three top series were coming out on the same day, joining an excellent pair of sports series in what has classically been the first or second most stacked day of the week. Straight dope, the past 24 hours had the potential to be pretty great. The keyword there is always “potential”; rarely does the entire slate of shows with upside pan out, and even those with very favorable preseason outlooks can disappoint. However, this time, things went on a bit different bent than usual. Seitokai Yakuindomo Confirmed Using Steroids got straight-up obnoxious with Suzu’s head. Robot Girls Z was twice as long as we previously thought. And Ian Sinclair was, in fact, Space Dandy. Which is now a 2-cour project. Since Arpeggio’s v1 sales numbers neatly edged out 10k, I’ve got an unbreakable three-way tie for favorite news of the weekend. Let’s break it down.
The Winter 2014 season has had a couple of preaired episodes at this point. It’s 2 or 3, by my count, depending on how you count adorable short Pupipo (shorts kind of exist in another dimension unless they’re Teekyu or Poyopoyo good, and this is solid not quite there). The main attractions to the undercard bout, though, are the hotly-anticipated-by-me Witchcraft Works and the no-expectations-going-in, might-not-have-watched-if-not-for-the-sparse-field-at-the-time Buddy Complex.