Monday, July 28, 2014

Anime Haul! Hits [and Misses] of Summer 2014

July's almost over, and I've been getting myself into the fever of anime! One thing that remains though is that I ultimately need to get back into the rhythm of reading manga as well (especially now that my bookcase is set up). I'm sure that I'll get there eventually.

A lot of the anime I've been watching feels... rushed, for lack of a better word, and I remember the good old days of 25-26 episodes with in anime season. When it was anything shorter it felt so much more satisfying. Nowadays, I sort of dread the end. Not because "I don't want it to be over!!", but because it ends up feeling like a great waste of time on the part of those who put forth effort into making the anime and then on my part for watching it.

Harsh, I know, but them's the breaks. It's been hard to find something entertaining and worthwhile, but I'm sure that's only because I've only dipped my toe into the vast Summer Anime pool. I'll try to tackle them all (okay, more of them), but for now, let's kick things off with:

Bakumatsu Rock.
I went into this because someone I followed on twitter was raving about this. They seemed excited for this, and honestly, thinking about it now, I'm still not sure if it was good excitement or not. I'm here-and-there when it comes to the character designs. I love the opening because it's sung by one of my favourite Jrock bands. (I was actually surprised when I heard them!)

The overall premise seems fine, but the setting is just... It's during the age of Samurai, but they have military/government approved pop idols. And the main character has a guitar. And the other two members of his band also have instruments—"Sensei" has a drum set that comes and goes willy-nilly. So long as he has his drumsticks, his drums will teleport to him. Out of the main three, Sensei (LF: Katsura Kogorou) is probably the only one I can tolerate personality wise. Ryouma's hardheaded shounen personality is overly obnoxious and abrasive, and he's a rock obsessed idiot who can't seem to understand his surroundings. Usually I can kind of vibe with that personality, because I can learn to love a character like that (I do love shounen 90% of the time), but these newcomers are just... aggravating. They're hardly funny, and most of the time you just want them to sit down. What's worse is that Shinsaku ("Cindy") is overly abrasive and rude. For no real reason. Sometimes he's funny, but his hotheadedness is a big distraction when it comes to his character.

This is the type of anime that abuses 3D rendering—I think that's just the fad in some anime for this quarter. Yowamushi Pedal did the same thing (mostly for Makishima's hair), and with that, it was just a fun game for myself to point it out. But it felt strange, just a little out of place. With Bakumatsu Rock, I get the uncomfortable King of Thorn feel from it. And if you don't know what I mean: go watch the King of Thorn movie.

I'm not sure why I'm still watching this, honestly. Each episode is loaded with painful embarrassment. Oh. Right. Because the songs are good.

DRAMAtical Murder. A really popular men's love game. Boy, oh boy. I played the first game and rolled around in RE:Connect. When the game gets fucked up, it gets really fucked up. Sometimes, it's less of a dating sim and more of a "survivor's guilt sim". It has extremely dark elements along with amazing light and colourful ones. When I heard it was getting an anime, I knew that there was no way it could be good. I was worried less about the animation and more about the story itself, so Andy and I decided to watch it to see how it would all be executed.

There is nothing as hilariously bad as this.

The animation is laughable most of the time. A wideshot of all the characters results in someone (or most of the time, everyone) looking deformed and squished. All of the voice actors are the same I believe, but for some reason, this production just doesn't do any of them justice. I'm sticking through with this one because it is, from start to finish, an absolute treasure.

Tokyo Ghoul. This sounded like it would be pretty awesome, and I don't really remember seeing much about it aside from stray possible gifs.  Once I started watching it though, I just.. couldn't take it. There was something about it that wasn't right. Part of that was because of Touka. I already don't like how female characters are expressed in anime as it is, but she was just the wrong amount of everything. As someone who didn't read the manga, I didn't feel lost so much as I felt put off by the characters. Especially the main character Kaneki. While I understand that he's unable to grasp what happened to him, and admittedly freaks out about things, his struggle isn't.... captivating. Even though his freak out is understandable, it starts to border on annoying and boring. I honestly don't know why, but at his point, I just want him to eat and eat and never look back.

A friend of mine who is reading the manga says that they skipped dozens of chapters. Dozens. And honestly, I don't get the hype of having short seasons for anime if you're not even going to commit to it. If you're not going to make it worth watching. I'm not completely on board with the characters; there are probably only two that I really like. I put the anime on hold for now—I'm sure that I won't be missing anything. If I do pick up any manga series, it would probably be this one.

Free! Eternal Summer. Yup, definitely gayer than last time. And the thing about it is, is that it's more homoerotic than an anime based off of a boy's love game. Congratulations, Free!. I really don't have much to say aside from the fact that the boys are back! The new tall, dark, and brooding character is both a hit and a miss in this accord. I like Yamazaki; I really do, but considering the cheesy friendship theme of the show itself, he just feels like the added/necessary conflict. And that's what he is: perfect conflict where he's the good guy and the bad.

Nothing really to say on this aside from, yep! Still here. Still swimming.

Zankyou no Terror/Terror in Resonance. It's a beautifully animated show; I can honestly say that. The story is about two young men who decide, in the midst of summer, to enrapture Japan with their various acts of terrorism. I like the main boys, Nine and Twelve, and I also (!!) like Lisa. I haven't found her annoying or trying at all. I mostly feel for the poor girl.

I do love the fact that Yoko Kanno is helping with music (yes!), and the way that the story is going. The pacing is a little fast as well, but nothing that I'm willing to complain about as I'm actually enjoying the story. One of the characters, though, is a little aggravating. I think he's supposed to be a fat character that pokes fun of himself, but he's pretty "eeh..." in my opinion. Cheap side-character comic relief.

That aside, I'm sticking with this one. I honestly want to know more about Nine and Twelve—about their past, their motives, and so on. Also I'm really curious about Lisa! I really want to know.

These are the titles that I've been mostly watching this summer. I'd write about Yowamushi Pedal and Haikyuu!!, but because of my sincere enjoyment of them, I'm worried that I'll prattle on endlessly about them. Sports anime! Do the thing; get the points! If anything, what I might end up doing is— Well, you'll just have to see if and when I do it.

If you're interested in any of the titles mentioned, I would probably approach these with a blank slate. Even though this is but a fragment of my true, less sensible feelings about these titles, I still say check them out with your own interest in mind. Except Bakumatsu Rock. I say just avoid Bakumatsu Rock.

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