Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 12(ish) Days of Anime: ANIME I DISLIKED, 2014 EDITION

Hmm, people like lists right? And ranting uh-huh? I think I get one last good rant out about the anime I didn't like this year, specifically the shows that I was reasonably excited about seeing that had fairly strong opening episodes that then completely fell apart as they went along, yeah I think I can do that!

Going in order that they aired this year because I can't be bothered to list which ones I DISLIKED THE MOST or anything like that.

So I wasn't as in love with The Princess and the Pilot as some people were but I still thought it was a pretty solid movie and the plot of this series (based off of the author's other work in that universe) sounded really cool, plus the cover art for the novels caught my eye. And the first few episodes were great, the setting reminded me a lot of the Last Exile (research done after watching the show suggests I might've been more right about that than I thought....), the show set up some interesting character conflicts, and I just rather liked the idea of people traveling to the end of the world. But the pacing really fell apart in the show, it would spend episodes focusing on side characters and ignoring what I felt were some really interesting, big plot problems and blazed through some events which seemed important while dragging on others (like, didn't we have "Ari makes the best ramen ever" scene like 3 times in 13 episodes?!). I would have much rather the show didn't focus on the side characters as much, since not only did a lot of them turn out to be generic but in the end most of their actions didn't even do anything, and focused more on the big picture, this has got to be a problem from the original light novels but I've seen explanations where the writers left out some details I would have considered important enough to include.
Plus the ending is a total non-ending and most people were spoiled on one of the big, character-defining twists because people don't know how to write summaries and/or listened to the character voices and went "hey wait a minute". Uggghhhhh.

This show either needed to be one cour instead of two or needed to focus more on the supernatural elements of the show to fill all of the dead time. Seriously, I could take some "wistful wonderings of romance" from this show and it did have some really good bits but in the end it just felt meandering and the ending wasn't solid enough to justify the trip there.

While I suspect the creators did actually have a plan for how to get from the beginning to the ending (there was a tad too much cohesiveness to think otherwise) I still think you could cut out episodes 8 to nearly 18 without losing anything other than character development for some side characters. Hell, I had some friends ready to try that out for me last spring before I did my review but then they vanished off the face of the internet and I've only recently seen them again. What the hell show, you started off with some good ideas and then you went into some bad ones AND negated my friends' existences, not cool man.

Ack, I thought this story was too good to be true and even waited until it was five episodes in because hey, if it's consistently good for that many episodes it should be smooth sailing to the end! And the first half of the series was great, it tackled the idea of weekly memory loss with both creativity and sensitivity, I really liked it! And then the second half just had no idea where to go next (I'm curious if it over-took the manga here or what) and it just muddled around to a very unsatisfying ending. Next show please!

You had promise but your ending was a cop-out, I have no idea how the manga went but it seemed like you had two possible resolutions for the main character wen "but I can't chooooose, I wanna do booooooth" and that is never a good answer, neeeeeeever!

So let me get this straight, you're going to have a story about two young terrorists who want to change their world by exposing past wrongs through terrorism (and act as if communication isn't the reason behind just about all kinds of terrorism) and write yourself into knots since you don't want them to actually kill anyone? And you also want to tell a story criticizing modern-day Japan's imperialism supporters by having a story where characters are rebelling against some shadowy American organization and other Japanese characters sort of win in their dealings with them? I'm confused how anyone thought that was a thematically coherent idea for a story. The show had such a good start too, I was really interested in the audience stand-in character Lisa who seemed to have a rather realistic perspective/reason for hating the world and seeing how she reacted to the idea of destroying it and yet is reduced to a moe blob within episodes and her mere presence is enough to start undoing the bond which has held the other two leads together for a decade or more, what? Add in the "airport terror chess" episode and completely pointless character 5 whose actions cause completely illogical reactions and I am so done with the show, pity that the cinematography was fantastic since I did actually learn some things about framing a movie just from watching the show.

I will admit that several things about this show make more sense after reading Gundam: The Origin, clearly that's where the creators got the idea of having a colony of people become super independent after just two generations (if that) but at least the people in Gundam weren't trying to deny that there were genetically the same as their Earth counterparts. And that was one of the many things that made A.Z confusing until it was explicitly stated 2/3rds of the way into the show, by which point the show had run out of convincing arguments for why a newbie, high school tactician was the only person capable of defeating a very militaristic group of, military people. The show had no idea how technology worked, no idea that dropping a moon on a planet would cause a planet-wide extinction, no idea that dropping a moon on Earth would sink Japan (and New Orleans) and keep this story from happening, and also no idea that dropping a colo-I mean moon on Earth would have been a way more interesting conflict than trying to kill off one lead half a dozen times, let another show 30 seconds of emotion, and try to convince us the third is going to go against all of his own ideals and become evil for no apparent reason. I am so grumpy they did all of this to my Shimura Takako designs and am suspicious when people say she helped design the characters arcs since that doesn't feel like her kind of writing at all.

You weren't terrible but god your story could have been rewritten so much better. Your greatest strength was the confusing, sometimes-multiple-time-lines with lots of points of view and those first few episodes which had that gave me so much hope. I'm still not even sure if this series was too long or too short, it just really should've been rewritten from the ground up.

"Josei based off of an award-winning manga? Sure I'm game!" And then I couldn't take anything seriously since I am surrounded by middle schoolers every damn day and these kids acted like none of them. "Oh but some are mature and act very self-assured/mature!" Sure these kids THINK they're being mature and I was a more mature kid myself, I still goofed off with my friends all the time and that experience makes this series even more unrealistic. Augh, show why do you look so good and keep tempting me!

The good things about P-P2: Akane's growth from newbie to calm, determined young woman has continued and she's a nice mix of remaining calm under pressure and also connecting emotionally with a situation so she will try to do the right thing even if it's harder and puts a lot of risk on herself. It's hard to call her badass since you never see a traditional badass written like this but it's very clear she intends to keep that promise to Sibyl and be the one to change society enough that she can one day pull the plug on it. Oh and Shion, Yayoi, and Gino are all doing fine.
The bad things about this second season: Literally everything new. I'll get more into the details in my full review (which is the same for all of these entries, hence the many links)and haven't watch the last couple of episodes yet but, Mika is a terribly written character, red hair is literally a frequently used plot mover, and my theory that Tougane was actually a drone created by Sibyl in order to give Akane someone she could work off of so she could keep producing results (which would fit since Sibly has clearly kept Akane around for a reason AND would be a disturbing example of the kind of control the system has over people) was way more interesting and cool than the actual one. It also made more sense and a lot of the new ideas in this season didn't make sense, I'm told that the extended edition of the first season actually explains how psycho-passes are measured and this season comes up with the most dumbfuck way of getting around a system that has been around far long enough for someone else to realize it. Hey Urobotchi, next time you start a project and then hand it off to someone else can I write for it instead? Because I totally could've done a better job either here OR on A.Z!

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