Catching Up On Anime – March 2015

We’ve made it to a third monthly post, so it’s save to say this feature is going to remain. Feedback has been positive so far, so I’m glad people enjoy reading my anime ramblings as much as I enjoy streamlining my thoughts on it. This going to be a longer one, as a surprisingly packed season just closed. If you haven’t read last months post, feel free to read it and see where my mind was concerning shows before they finished. As always, there are shows I haven’t kept up with that I will return to in the future, so judgment on Durararax2 will have to wait until next month. Sorry.

[DeadFish] Kiseijuu_ Sei no Kakuritsu - 22 [720p][AAC].mp4_snapshot_04.29_[2015.03.26_17.36.00]

Parasyte

Parasyte came out to a lot of expectations and it met them with perfect precision. If Parasyte had been any less than it was, even just slightly, the show would have been a disappointment. Instead it was precisely what it needed to be. This doesn’t sound like high praise, but with the manga’s staying power, having started in 1988 and ended in 1995, it’s actually amazing it managed to meet expectations. The modernization added in the anime is sure to keep the story manages to stay relevant for even longer, which is always a good thing. The gradual shift in the relationship between Shinichi and Migi is one of the better ones I’ve seen in anime in a long while. Going from merely co-existing in a shared body to caring for one another near the end through mutual sacrifices is fantastic.

My only real problem with the show is the final episode, which mostly felt unnecessary. I understand Parasyte is largely influenced by old-school science fiction, and most older science fiction stories love to beat you over the head with the morality driving the story at the end in case you weren’t clever enough to understand it, but Parasyte honestly didn’t need that. The show had a good way of letting its themes flow naturally, and explaining them at the end made me feel like it diluted the entire experience. I’m probably extra harsh on this point because Serial Experience Lain is still fresh on my mind though. To me, it shows a lack of faith in the audience, and that’s not a behavior I’m lenient towards. And the final episode underlined just how much it had been going on for the duration of the rest of the story. It weakens the impact that naturally understanding the themes in good thematic writing is supposed to have.

 

[HorribleSubs] Death Parade - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.46_[2015.04.05_03.43.33]

Death Parade

It feels like a miracle that this show managed to just exist. Given the subject matter and directions Death Parade kept choosing, it would’ve been all too easy for the entire concept to just collapse on itself. Instead, Death Parade managed to have a strong showing from beginning to end. I’ve seen quite a few people critique the show for its weak writing in how the show is based around the judgements of someone whose understanding of humanity is flawed, but it should be quite obvious from the second episode and onwards that this is an intentional flaw that the show revolves around.

The way the first two episodes pan out and highlights the difference between Decim and the black-haired-woman makes it very clear that Decim, in his years of judging, is far removed from the same kind of human empathy that he judges people on. The first episode shows his judgments as absolute and unquestionable, while the second episode questions his reasoning by giving the audience a look behind the curtain from the perspective of the black-haired-woman. Her reasoning leads to a different conclusion to what sort of judgment should have been correct, but, just as it was previously shown Decim’s judgment wasn’t infallible, it’s shown that her point of view isn’t perfect either. The combination of the two together and the way they don’t agree with each other becomes the centerpoint for the show, as it becomes clear that even though judgment is given, there is no perfect judgment, but the judgments made themselves are absolute. The fact that most of the other arbiters don’t see eye to eye and are quite hostile to one another underlines this.

In fact, it’s interesting to note that while Decim almost entirely lacks a personality, the other Arbiters are brimming with one. Yet it’s because of this that Decim stands out as a more interesting character, because he’s not written this way due to lazy writing, but because it’s the most effective way to offset the rest of the show and get the viewer to join in on judging everyone. The passive nature of Decim and lack of empathy make it easy to turn against his judgment if you don’t agree with him. The only character defining thing Decim does early on is allow a human to join in on his work, which is the main thing the other arbiters judge him on as they disagree with this choice. In judging this choice, they reveal more about their character than any attachment to character tropes or color coding could ever give away.

This isn’t a flaw in writing the characters. This is flawed characters presenting a strong overall theme as the backdrop for uncomfortable character examinations. The show uses extremes, visually, conceptually, and thematically, to get its ideas across. It might turn a lot of people away because instead of easing you into the concepts it screams them at you to get you out of your comfort zone. The mood backlash in every episode after the cheerful opening theme stops and the show itself begins is a very large part in setting up this effect.

In terms of story-driven series and character examinations, I feel Death Parade has come out as one of the strongest shows since Ping Pong the Animation. Highly recommend it.

 

[HorribleSubs] Garo - The Animation - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.43_[2015.03.30_18.26.03]

Garo – The Animation

Another big surprise. There were quite a few of leftovers from last season that helped make this one feel packed. Amongst those, Garo was the main one to have my full attention by the time the new shows started coming out. It’s already uncommon for me to welcome a show with CG use as heavy as Garo, but it’s even rarer for me to be happy about the CG even being there. From the frame limiter to keep it in line with the 2D animations to the amazing choreography to make good use of the models, it’s nice to see a series use CG as more than just a way to cut corners.

The show itself, for the most part, isn’t even all that original. Most of the story and the way it unfolds isn’t all that uncommon for a fantasy anime, but the way it presents itself and uses all these elements are fantastic. Anyone looking for a good action series should give Garo a chance you’d be surprised how many times the show keeps on improving itself during its run.

A second series has been announced, and I’m really looking forward to it.

[HorribleSubs] JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc - 34 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.30_[2015.03.16_16.16.55]

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc

It’s JoJo. It’s Part 3. It’s the second half, which is a lot better than the first.

That said, the stuff with D’Arby, and Hol Horse returning together with Boingo are fun to see in animated form. The return of the special Oingo Boingo outro is great.

build fighters try burning

Gundam Build Fighters Try

What a disappointment. The first Build Fighters was so good. Even have a much nicer main Gundam design, Try never delivered on much of what the original great. There’s less passion for the original Gundam materials. More original designs and super robot stuff. The animations and fights were still great, but the focus on trios and the way it generally had all the fights end the same way really killed it. Not helping that the main character, the one the show focused on most, was the least likeable character in the entire franchise so far.

A third Build Fighters series has been announced, and I can’t even feel much excitement for it anymore. What a shame.

 

[Underwater-Commie] Nichijou - 05v2 (720p) [D4D08CDB].mkv_snapshot_14.20_[2015.03.19_12.13.22]

Nichijou

I know a lot of people are looking forward to hearing these words from me, so here goes.

I was wrong.

Nichijou is amazing.

There you go, happy now?

In my defense, I think what originally turned me against Nichijou was just seeing clips of it on YouTube with the pretext of it really being amazing and stupidly funny and you don’t have a sense of humor if you don’t think it’s funny. Praise can really shut down anything, no matter how good it is. It’s also not helping that YouTube is the worst place with Nichijou’s format. Part of what really makes it all work is that you can never expect what is going to happen. Not only are you in the dark as to what the joke of this skit is going to be, you have no idea how long this skit is going to last. Sometimes the actual punchline won’t even be part of the current skit. It could be half an episode away. The joke lies in the unexpected, especially when watching it the first time. So seeing a skit posted on YouTube, with the runtime right there under the video, and whatever the weird thing is going to be in the title, most of the really funny moments don’t stand a chance to reach the height they could reach within the context of the full show.

That said, watching the show properly, it’s one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in a very long time and I’m glad I made the presence of mind to go back and give it a fair chance.

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