This Season Has been One Big Letdown.

Anime that tries and fails is still infinitely more interesting than anime that just sticks to the same old formulas, be it moe-mongering, robo-shouting or power levels. I just completed a marathon of Flag, which is by far the most visually creative and detailed anime I’ve ever seen. As I know a bit of photography myself, I could identify the many little things the producers put in to make the show authetic from a camera’s POV. The whole show is made up of nothing but video footage, still photographs, and navigation through Operating Systems, yet it still tells an interesting story about war journalism, civil wars in 3rd world countries, religious fanaticism, UN peacekeepers and transforming mecha. Lol at the same point btw.

While I really liked Flag a lot for all the reasons and themes stated above, their marriage of mecha battle, war journalism and peace messages didn’t work as well as they hoped, possibly because it doesn’t bloody make sense. The mecha should’ve been left out entirely, that might have made Flag an ultima-class anime. Pity though because the mecha are really well designed and animated, and the combat’s realism (for anime standards) makes the battle scenes exciting. One thing recent mecha shows fail to do is the make the viewer realise the value of the machine. In Flag, we are subject to lots of time spent showing maintenance and cost of the vehicles, and I really felt the wallet pinch when one of them got destroyed. In the recent mecha shows like Gundam and Linebarrels, the mecha are dispensible, cheap and can be repaired instantly, which cheapens their value.

Nevertheless, I’ll still categorise Flag as an A- minus, in the same bracket as Full Metal Panic: Awesome but flawed seriously. (FMP is flawed because the Lambda driver is shit).

Going back to my first point, anime that tries and fails can be a huge financial liability, which explains why in this economic climate, studios tend to favour safer formulas and cheap animation, rather than huge budgeted stuff. It’s the time of the season when every show is ending, and so far, I’ve seen like 5-6 last episodes, all of which were rubbish, maybe except Toradora’s, which wasn’t exactly good either. Akikan had a really bad generic ending, where the Mixed Juice can got defeated by the power of love. Ew. Clannad had some lameass reset ending. Ew. Asu no Yoichi had the final arc involving the big boobed girl’s kidnap, and it was terrible. Worst last episode ever. Ew. Druaga had some cliche brother rivalry final battle, ew. I didn’t even know Index ended! Wtf was that. Munto was just bad, full of senseless ramblings.

Many of the shows which I thought had potential turned out average. It’s pretty obvious that at this time, the studios are just pandering to the otaku/fanboy crowd, for short-term profits. Look at Gundam 00, it’s the best example. Over the course of its run, it has warped into some unrecognisable mess with at least one major battle each episode to satisfy mecha fanboys.

Interestingly, I still found many of the shows a joy to watch, which can be attributed to my high threshold of anime tolerance. It takes quite a bit for me to classify a show as a grade A one, but I can easily watch grade B ones without complaint.

Here’s my list of which shows succeeded this season in pleasing me.
Inazuma 11
One Outs
Birdy 2
Gundam 00

Despite its flaws, Gundam 00 pleases me like how porn pleases me. Druaga may have disappointed us with its ending, but overall was still a good GONZO attempt. I mean, GONZO is like your semi-vegetable retard friend who shouts a lot, if he can feed himself without spilling then he deserves praise. One Outs was excellent despite having a lull around episode 20-24, and the current "Let’s injure Tokuchi" arc is brilliant. Birdy 2 was even better than Birdy 2, with an equally good opening song.

The dark horse as you can see here is Inazuma 11. I don’t think English fansub groups have touched it, but this show is bloody brilliant. It’s a sports show that follows the superpower route, and you can only score goals if your shot has a funky name and animation and surpasses the power level of the goalkeeper. It’s one of my favourite shows strangely enough, which might be a sign of me becoming old since in the past I would’ve hated such shows.

Here’s the list which promised to please me but failed to.
Soul Eater
Asu no Yoichi

I really thought Rideback’ll be good, but the latter half just went by without anything much happening. I suppose it’s good if you think about it being realistic in terms of portraying Rin’s helplessness,but it’ll have been a great show had it been 26 episodes long. It just feels too short now. Soul Eater is all anime-original now and doesn’t make sense anymore. Asu no Yoichi is a weird one, it started out with zero expectations, then surpassed it, and became the victim of its own success. The ending arc was the worst I’ve ever seen and all Yoichi’s moves, from 1-8, are the same except for the tornado one. Clannad was good for the most part and I would’ve thought better of it if it didn’t have the lazy ending.

Here’s the list of shows which are still pleasing me very much.
Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo

Sorakake is the best show that began this season and Major has always been good. Tytania is weirdly ending at 26. Why? Erin has been a pleasant, unboring slice of life style show. It’s like an action version of Aria without the lameness and the beauty, but with more animals.

Here’s the list of shows which I forced myself to sit through and still thought were shit.
Tales of the Abyss

Munto is one of the most well-animated sacks of shit ever seen on the face of this Earth.

Apparently I didn’t hate that many after all. What do you guys think? Which shows did you watch and hate?

17 Responses to “This Season Has been One Big Letdown.”

  • I like Flag too, though I didn’t think it dug as deep as it ought to have into the interesting straight-from-the-headlines stuff it tried to engage with. (Religious violence boils down to men in scary clown masks? Really? And all journalists are heroic truth-seekers? Really?) I liked how a whole episode was devoted to the team having a massive gun shipped in, and then testing it to see firing it would destroy the HAVWC’s legs. And then when they used it in battle it destroyed the HAVWC’s legs. I can see why it would be a good watch for anyone knowledgeable about photography, too!

    Shows which stick to formulae can be interesting if you sit back and track how the formulae are deployed, but I see what you mean about risk-taking. Anyway, I’m not watching and hating anything at the moment: the only currently-airing anime I’m watching are Sorakake and Gundam 00.

  • Watched Munto. Made no sense but loved the animation. Meh then there’s still the movie finale >__>
    Dropped Akikan for the love of Suzuhira Hiro.
    Dropped Kurokami due to cowardly male lead.
    The Druaga CG displeases me but it was so-so. Not as good as Season 1 though.
    SoraKake owns because Lelouch is an AI.
    Not enough Washizu vision and Tsubasa vision in Asu no Yoichi.
    Soul Eater sucked the moment Shinigami-sama lost.
    Gintama is still awesome.
    Tales of the Abyss turns out to be a watered down version of To Aru Majutsu no Index, where main characters spout uber cliched lines and act overdramatic during enemy dying scenes.
    To Aru Majutsu no Index was the biggest let down, J.C. Staff should be nuked.
    ToraDora turned out okay. I liked the last minute or so. But the emo shit that went on for the latter half of the series turned me off.

    Didn’t watch the others you mentioned =/

  • only show you mentioned i’m watching is soul eater, and i agree with your assessment. the moment it strayed from the manga it began to suck and suck and suck. the last few eps have been terrible..

  • I like Marimite and Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou. I also like Birdy 2 and Erin, while Ride Back isn’t too bad, it’s just really uneven (haven’t finished it yet, though, so I don’t know how it ends).

    The problem with this season is that there’s no “decent” anime, everything’s either good or utter crap. I’ve found about five anime from this season that I’ve enjoyed, so I don’t think it’s too bad a season, but I’ll admit I’ve had to weigh through a lot of crap to find five.

  • you have successfully brought Inazuma 11 to my attention. And no, liking Inazuma 11 (among other animes you hated in the past) isn’t a sign that you’re getting old, you’re just becoming more deredere for shows you used to be tsun about :P

    Sorakake is a pleasant watch for me too, really enjoyable. I can’t believe I neglected One Outs… lol.

    also, I can hope you’ll find it in your heart to watch Skip Beat! and see how awesome it is! Get past the unfunny comedic effects / horrible BGM, and you’ll certainly enjoy it.

  • Oh yes, Flag. I still thought the HAVWCs were well-grounded in current technology and weren’t ZOMG INVINCIBLE MECHA!!!!11 Also that part where they were using a computer to tune the new HAVWC which was slated to finish in days was lol.

    Lambda Drivers ruined FMP tech.

  • The funny thing about Flag is the true imba aspect of it was not the mecha, but the detection systems. They can tell where each and every human enemy is regardless of wall thickness! If you had that ability, then even regular troopers would win easily. There is nothing that the HAVWC can do that regular soldiers can’t, if both of them had the same detection devices.

    Usagijen, I hated Captain Tsubasa because of how unrealistic it was. I also love Inazuma 11 because it has special fire soccer balls. Is Skip Beat as good as Honey and Clover?

    Sorrow: I’ve been meaning to watch Natsume Yuujinchou, but haven’t found the time to marathon it.

  • How come no Maria Holic?

  • Because at the start of the season I mistakenly thought Mariaholic was the same as Mariasamagemiteru. LOL.

  • Tales of the Abyss is pretty good from a fan-perspective, but I can understand how it comes off as sub-par to a lot of people. The animation quality does slowly degrade as the show continues…and it’s not like the original source had a fully coherent and interesting story. Even in its game form, Tales of the Abyss proved to be one of my least favorite in the series (Yeah, I even preferred the very very very crappy story of the Tales of Symphonia sequel to Abyss at times). Plus, I could never stand Luke and Tear, so the heavy emphasis on them in the last couple episodes made me head-desk repeatedly because I couldn’t just skim through the text and not have to actually listen to them say that cheesy crap.

    I still have to finish up Gundam00 and Ride Back. I really need to stop overloading on school work. The Winter season turned out to be a big letdown for me too. I dropped half the series I picked up during it and another half of the series I picked up during the fall.

  • Hmm… it’ll be hard to compare Honey and Clover with Skip Beat since they’re somewhat at opposite poles of each other. They’re both AWESOME, and they’ll both make you cry, for different reasons, H&C for the poignant BAWWWsome drama factor and Skip Beat for the total FUN! giddy exciting & LOL factor.

    I’d say Skip Beat also makes me cry like H&C because I can feel the pathos on top of the fun stuff, but that might just be me. Skip Beat has the power to brighten up your drab day, that’s for sure.

  • Most of the shows which were disappointing I dropped anyway. ‘Cept for Yoichi, which was generally enjoyable but had a shitty ending, and Clannad, which was generally enjoyable but had a shitty ending. Soul Eater, on the other hand, still continues to impress me. It lost its way for a couple of eps (DEATH CITY ROBO) but 50 was epic win.

  • More Gintama love here.

    Why doesn’t anyone hardly ever mention Gintama though. I mean…I assume that it’s going into what it’s 4th year now that a fair number of people must watch it.

  • Probably got something to do with how the english subs for it are a bit slow.

  • The problem with Soul Eater wasn’t so much that it deviated from the manga, as the manga itself got really stupid as well. The stories split basically in the middle of the fight with Mosquito on the frozen island, and from there on there were one or two similarities. It saddens me that two different writing staffs couldn’t come up with a plausible way to keep the story going. In the manga SPOILERS…
    … BJ dies after like ten minutes, but not before he tells Marie how to get rid of Medusa’s snake and thus keep Stein from going run-away crazy, after which Medusa leads a team of Shibusen students into Baba Yaga’s castle (seriously, WTF), BREW turns out to just amp up technicians’ soul resonate power level over 9000, Mosquito’s final form is DRACULA, Kid gets eaten by a dude with a magic book, and the last I checked Black Star and Mifune were fighting for two whole volumes with an increasing use of indistinct ink blurs representing their ultra-ninja moves. That’s when I lost patience with it.

    So yeah. Big letdown on both ends.

  • Loved how you summed up the current GONZO situation. That’s so true..

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